Tuesday, 9 July 2019

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Walking the streets of New York one night, April May stumbles upon a giant robot. She assumes it's an art installation, New York's like that, and calls her friend Andy to come make a video. She names the robot Carl. Little does she know that Carls have been appearing all over the world, and her video goes viral. Soon she's at the centre of a global mystery. Where did the Carls come from and what do they want?

I was really, deeply, honestly, and truly infatuated with having people pay attention to me.

I'm only aware of Hank Green because of his brother, John, and I have never watched any of their videos. However I can imagine a lot of what is in this book is based on their own experiences of internet fame. I was pleasantly surprised by An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, it's much more about fame than aliens.

April May's working an entry level job at a New York design firm when she discovers Carl. She's trying to keep connected to the creative life she wants, and being in New York feels like she is, even if she's struggling with low pay and long hours. She's not quite prepared for the whirlwind ahead and the strain it'll put on her relationships.

She maybe didn't start out seeking fame, but she craves the attention it gives her. She must be involved, guiding where the story about the Carls go. A puzzle inside an Wikipedia article, leads them to a whole world of puzzle that must be solved, hopefully to reveal the meaning of the Carls. April May is sure this is a sign that they want to be able to see if humans across the world can work together towards a common goal. However others believe they are not to be trusted.

The resulting online atmosphere is not unfamiliar, with polarising opinions getting out of hand and people crossing lines. April May has to deal with the online hate, but also the pressure to be ahead of the curve, to have new material all the time.

The power that each of us has over complete strangers to make them feel terrible and and frightened and weak is amazing.

I just noticed there is a sequel planned. I'm not sure how I feel about that, as I like the briefness of the ending, but I enjoyed it enough that I'll probably end up reading it.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is published by Orion and the UK paperback will be available on the 30th July 2019. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: 39. A book revolving around a puzzle or game

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