(May 2021) This book was great! Repo Virtual is an engaging book following robot-repairman JD in Korea. This world presents a unique challenge, the effect of failed autonomous capitalism on a city. He does thieving work in the virtual world of VOIDWAR. Communication with his sibling, Soo-Hyun leads him into the dangerous world of cults and a power hungry woman who gives him an offer he can’t refuse. He is hired to steal something in real life but soon is left to grapple with attempting to figure out what he stole.
I was immediately pulled in by the starting action of the story, in which we met the main character. The beginning roped us in and got me interested in the idea of this virtual world. Right away I was in love with the world building of this story. It was futuristic from a technological standpoint but entirely realistic with poverty, crime, and its take on capitalism. I related to a lot of the characters. One of the main characters, J.D. really got me thinking about the role of individuals in a capitalistic economy. He spoke realistically about passion in the workplace. That was one of the things I held in my mind throughout the entire book.
Another thing I liked about the book was how they wrote relationships between characters. The author allowed us to see many sides of different characters, and slowly introduced different aspects of each character which led to some great character development. I feel like you could tell a lot about the characters in the first parts, and then be able to look back on certain events and pinpoint character traits (cough cough Kali).
The author also wasn’t afraid to go into social issues and the implications of them in a futuristic world. He certainly didn’t shy away from representation as well, without overwhelming the reader with constant information about it. There were members of the LGBTQ, Black, and Indian communities, people with different views, young people, and robots even. It was there, and it was casual. Many different groups could see themselves represented in this book.
The way that the author wrote the a.i was fascinating and engaging. The twist with the psychological implications on technology was stunning and it was another aspect of the book that got me thinking. I also liked the way it was set up, with the a.i being in the first perspective, and the other stories being third. I wish we could’ve spent even more time inside of the a.i’s “head.” But, at the same time, I think the other storylines were more necessary and I’m glad the author did not spend too much time writing from the a.i’s perspective.
One thing that I wished had been different is just the way the book was divided up. I think there was a lot of time spent on developing the characters and set up, and less time on the actual conflict and rising action. I would’ve liked to see some obvious foreshadowing or stuff like that in the book.
All in all, it was a great book! I’m very glad to have read it. 9/10 stars.
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Book Review by MJ C. (Age 13)