Review: Amped, Daniel H. Wilson

Amped, Daniel WilsonTitle: Amped (Goodreads)

Author:  Daniel H. Wilson (@danielwilsonpdx)

Rating: ★★★★★

Technology makes them superhuman. But mere mortals want them kept in their place. Enter a stunning world where technology and humanity clash in terrifying and surprising ways.

Some people are implanted with upgrades that make them capable of superhuman feats. The powerful technology has profound consequences for society, and soon a set of laws is passed that restricts the abilities—and rights—of “amplified” humans.

On the day that the Supreme Court passes the first of these laws, 29-year-old Owen Gray discovers that his seizure-supressing medical implant is actually a powerful upgrade. Owen joins the ranks of a new persecuted underclass known as “amps” and is forced to go on the run, desperate to reach an outpost in Oklahoma where, it is rumoured, a group of the most enhanced amps are about to change the world—or destroy it.


Series: Standalone
Genre: Science fiction
Published: Knopf Doubleday, June 5, 2012
Pages (Hardcover): 288
My Copy: Digital ARC from Netgalley

Paper copies: • • Book Depository
E-copies: • • Barnes & Noble


Amped was a roller coaster ride from start to finish. I was constantly pulled between being worried about the main characters, horrified at the anti-amp protests and media beat-ups and sad at the human cost of similar conflicts that are mirrored in the real world.

This story would make a great movie – the action scenes play out like a screenplay, complete with slow-motion sections. I loved the fast pacing and the detailed descriptions.

Amped is a really interesting look at the way society works. Once people are given permission to hate something or someone, and fed and encouraged by the media, they will often go ahead and hate no matter how reasonable a person they seem to be. All it takes to start a war is for one person in authority to say that something is not right and call for action. It’s scary, honestly. Parallels can be drawn with the way western society handles the perceived threat of terrorism from minority groups.

Power can do funny things to people. To paraphrase a quote from Amped: “… (it) makes a good person better, and it makes a bad person worse.” Poor Owen has to learn how to use his implant in a very short time and hope that when it comes down to the crunch and his implant takes over, he’ll end up being a good guy instead of a bad one.

Fans of dystopia will love this book, and anyone who likes a fast-paced action-packed story should enjoy it as well.

Warnings: Graphic violence, some swearing.