Book Review- Phantom

Thursday, 20 September 2018
Title: Phantom
Author: Leo Hunt
Published: 9th August 2018
Pages: 416
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopian

Rating: 4/5 stars

Sixteen-year-old thief and hacker Nova makes just enough to live on leeching from the corpsmen that live in the spires 400 storeys above the forgotten undercity slums she calls home. So when infamous anti-corp hacker The Moth offers Nova a huge sum to infiltrate and steal something from the biggest corp of all, Bliss Inc. - manufacturer of the neural implants that allow everyone in the spires continuous metanet access - she jumps at the chance. But what is the dark secret Bliss Inc. is hiding and why does The Moth want to get his hands on it so badly? -Goodreads

Thank you so much to BKMRK Books for the copy of this novel to review.
I really like the blurb to this book, I wasn't aware of it before I received a copy in the post, but I was immediately drawn to it. It's been compared to Blade Runner and Black Mirror, and I think these are accurate comparisons. There is a definite sci-fi/cyber-punk feel to the novel, and I like how this is quite uncommon to read in YA. The author has written a fast-paced and exciting, and the twists and turns don't stop from the first page to the last.
Nova is the main character and heroine, and although she did remind me quite a lot of plenty other heroines in YA, the author has made her relatable and easy to root for throughout. The characters that fill the rest of the novel are well written and fully developed by the author. Hunt has written a mix of 'good' and 'evil' characters, and those that seem to fall ambiguously between the two.
Nova, our main character, is gay. This isn't treated as a big deal or a particularly important plot point, and I thought this was refreshing and well-handled by the author. I think it's important that LGBTQ characters exist in YA just as they do in reality, and the more common they become the better YA lit becomes.
However, although the author handles the LGBTQ element of the novel so deftly, I have read online that many people feel the novel to be ableist. I did not notice this on first reading, but after reading others' thoughts, and rereading the instances they evidenced, I agree. The word 'cripple' is thrown around by characters in an insulting and derogatory way towards a character with physical disabilities. Also when a character is not connected to the network-of-sorts that features heavily in the novel, this is likened to missing a limb or being deaf/blind. This is a gross exaggeration even in this world which is heavily dependent on said network, and is also insensitive terminology to use. 
Overall I enjoyed this novel, although the above ableist terminology/mindset has seriously dampened my enjoyment post-read.

Buy this novel on Book Depository (affiliate link) here

1 comment:

  1. Oh this does sound interesting, anything that is compared to Black Mirror instantly peaks my interest but will have to do some more research into why people find this book a bit problematic before deciding whether or not to pick it up!


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