Vitality is set in an alternative version of the present day. Real fresh food is illegal, and the government and large companies control the population of the city through synthetic food and legal narcotics containing mood-enhancing chemicals. The “Easy Food” isn’t quite working as well as planned, so the companies are taking things a step further with the release of Vitality, a soft drink that promises to make all problems disappear. Stylo has moved to the city to work for Vitality, but soon meets up with Emulla and her friends who are secretly plotting against the big companies.
The ideas behind Vitality are fascinating. The government controlling the population through a monopoly on food is something that isn’t that far-fetched, as the population grows and food becomes more precious. That fact, plus the generally dark feeling of the city, gave this story a gritty and sinister feeling.
I felt the story stalled a little at times – it could have perhaps have done with more action through the middle of the book. The pace picks up towards the ending though and wow, what an ending it is!
The extras in this story are described in really interesting ways that were often funny and added flavour to the city, for example the “demented prune” running the local bar, or a “balloon-headed man”. Stylo was a bit of a depressive character – he spends quite a lot of time feeling sorry for himself, but at least he gets things done. Emulla and her friends at the Earth Club are more upbeat characters – I felt I’d quite like to meet them and hang out with a few Earth Beers.
Dam Good Publishing are offering an e-book copy of Vitality to give away. The competition is open internationally!