Fantastic world-building and an immersive story make Cynetic Wolf a must-read for those who love futuristic sci-fi books. A solid 4-star rating from me!
Author: Matt Ward
Genre: Technothrillers, dystopian sci-fi
Publication date: Mar 25th, 2020
From the back cover
It’s 2096, sixty years after ninety percent died from a man-made Bioplague. Humanity has splintered into four unequal subspecies: immortals, cyborgs, enhancers, and subservient half-human, half-animal hybrids.
The world is anything but equal. Hybrids everywhere are suffering, but sixteen-year-old Raek Mekorian, a wolfish with a nose for trouble, doesn’t see an alternative. Except the Resistance, who don’t stand a chance against the world government. His mom always said, “Keep your head down.”
And he does, until his sister is murdered by a pair of cyborgs. Overnight, his simple life is shattered, fracturing the rigid governmental caste as he is thrust into the dangerous world of superhuman hit squads, Resistance uprisings, and secrets better left unsaid.
With only built-in blasters and the advice of a mysterious professor, Raek must navigate crushing betrayal, self-doubt, and a limitless enemy whose evil knows no bounds.
Can Raek unify his people and free them from tyranny? The fate of mankind may rest in his hands.
The action takes place in the future where science and technology are advanced beyond our imagination. At first, they created cyborgs. Then, due to bioengineering, they could implant babies after birth and became cynetics. Even more fascinating, a group managed to encrypt and back up someone’s soul and personality, thus achieving immortality because they could always reboot the backup in a new body.
Many experiments resulted in new species, hybrids that were mostly human but enhanced with animal DNA. As such, the hybrids exhibit traits from the animals whose genes they received.
The world-building is futuristic and quite complex, as expected. I wish the author had named the hybrid species better (but that is just my opinion) as they sound a little bit ridiculous: Lizard hybrids were called Lizardish (and they were cold, with green skin covered with scales), and then we have Bearish, Rabbitish, Chimpish, etc. You get my point.
The main character is Raek, a wolfish hybrid. He has heightened senses, he’s good at tracking and hunting, and he outsmarts other hybrids. He’s unique in every way. Not only he has keen senses, but he sees telescopically, he can shoot from his hands (has some sort of built-in blasters), and he can connect mentally to the internet and read an entire book in minutes.
Being extraordinary isn’t easy when the war starts, and each side wants him. On the one hand, the Resistance wants him as a leader. On the other hand, the government wants to study him because technically he shouldn’t exist.
This book has fabulous world-building, a dystopian future very well detailed, and at the same time, an information overload. There are so many layers and themes (the ethics of human genetic experimentation, society structure, slavery, and political intrigue).
The story is very fast-paced and immersive, but the way the main character acted in certain situations felt odd to me, like how he deals with the loss of loved ones. I get that he’s a teenager, but I suppose I expected him to act differently considering his enhancements. He shifts from confident, hero mode to an insecure boy way too often.
All in all, this was a good story, intense and well-crafted with a unique view of a dystopian future.
About the author
Matt Ward is an author, entrepreneur, host of the Disruptors.FM tech podcast, and the #24 ranked futurist worldwide.
His work focuses on the intersection of exponential technologies and the ethical issues confronting humanity in the 21st century, as do his novels, which are inspired by the cutting-edge scientists he interviews on his show.
Today, Matt writes fast-paced science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction technothrillers with a dystopian bent on the question: what does it mean to be human?
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