Review: Glitch, Heather Anastasiu

Title: Glitch (Goodreads)

Author:  Heather Anastasiu (@h_anastasiu)

Rating: ★★★★☆

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

Details

Series: Glitch #1 of 3
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Published: St Martin’s Press, August 7, 2012
Pages (paperback): 371
My copy: From Netgalley

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.ukBook Depository
E-copies: (Not available for Kindle at this time) • Barnes & Noble

Review

The Community lives underground. Each person is implanted with a V-chip in their brain to control their thoughts and keep the Community the haven of Peace and Harmony, but the chips also prevent subjects from feeling emotions and seeing beauty or horror in their world.

Some young people’s brains have started rejecting the V-chip and its information-feeding Link – the glitchers. Zoel has just started glitching and is terrified to experience emotions for the first time. When she is taken in for diagnostics for her anomalous behaviour, a strange boy, Adrien, busts her out and they escape to the surface of the Earth. There Zoel (now called Zoe) learns about the Resistance and the way the subjects of the Community are controlled.

There are a lot of negative reviews for Glitch around the place at the moment, but I have to say that I really quite enjoyed it. Sure, it’s got insta-love, it’s got slighty wince-worthy invented swear words and I didn’t really enjoy the “back to square one” approach after Zoe’s trip to the surface, but at its heart is a very enjoyable debut.

Zoe is described in quite a few reviews as a “Mary-Sue” – that is, a character without any flaws, who is inherently boring and unrealistic. I’m not sure I agree in this case. When she starts glitching, Zoe experiences a lot of emotions for the first time, and that is sure to be confusing and scary. After she decides not to report herself to the Regulators, she spends a lot of time hiding and generally whining about the state of things. Considering she also has to deal with the advances of Max, who is also glitching and experiencing the overwhelming feelings of a teenage boy for the first time, she did pretty well not to turn into a screaming mess more often. Not every character has to be a strong kick-arse female lead! In fact, I felt that towards the end of the book she was starting to take charge of situations and I hope the next book will see quite a different Zoe.

I thought the society of the Community was described quite well by the end, but we are still left with little information about the way the rest of the world’s society works in this future world. The “Resistance” is hardly mentioned at all and the “Uppers” and others in charge of the Community remain shadowy figures. Where are the rest of the world’s population? I’m hoping the above-ground world will be more fully explored in the future books.

The made-up swear words made me cringe a little – it seems like the author wanted to make Adrien a little more edgy by making him swear, which is fine, but without using our modern swear words to make the book more appealing to young people. I don’t see the point – surely if our current batch of swear words have been around for hundreds of years, why shouldn’t they survive to this future time? I just thought it was a little unnecessary.

The insta-love was disappointing. Adrien basically says, “I just met you, and this is crazy…” and then goes in for the kiss, and Zoe is okay with it. It’s true that at that point she doesn’t really know what kissing or love is, and Adrien has been falling in love with her in his visions for a while already, but it’s all a little too fast. I did think, however, that the discovery of emotions by both Zoe and Max was really well described and occasionally funny. Poor Max! With all those teenage emotions suddenly flowing, it’s a shame that he ended up being the abusive and jealous type of guy. Zoe has no idea how to deal with him, and ends up feeling confused and guilty. I just wanted to give her a hug in a few points, and a slap in a few others.

The action scenes are very exciting and I wished there were more of them rather than so many secretive character-relationship scenes, but the story moved along fast enough to keep me reading way past my bedtime.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Glitch and will be looking out for the next in the series, Override. If you loved other sci-fi romances such as Across the Universe then give Glitch a try.

Warnings: Violence, sexual references

What did others think of Glitch?

  • “Although the concepts were fascinating enough, it was difficult to give this story the interest it needed. ” – 2/5 – Sam of Realm of Fiction
  • Glitch had a few glitches of its own, but it does make for an interesting tale with an interesting take on the world when technology decides to really take over our lives.” – Courtney of Rondo of a Possible World
  • “This series has so much more potential with Zoe’s growing powers. I can’t wait for the next book! ” – 3.5/5 – Reading by Kindle Fire