Is Sweetland utopia or dystopia? Or something else?
In the minds of those left behind, the act of crossing over to Sweetland is, literally, no different than death. But is Sweetland really a new planet, ready to accept a humanity suffering from war, economic collapse, and environmental catastrophe-or is it another kind of escape entirely?
With confident prose and a diverse cast of characters with fully realized back stories, Poncy’s well-plotted, complex thriller–the first book of The Sweetland Quartet–amps up the clash between virtual existence and reality. The planet is flooding, food is scarce, and the world is on the verge of a war over water. Joe Larivee, an overwhelmed social worker unable to help the drug-addicted masses, learns that his 14-year-old daughter Jessie is trying to get to an environmental community called Sweetland, a utopia that promises a new beginning for humanity. But Bridge gets conflicting information: is Sweetland a habitable pristine planet, a way to upload human consciousness to a giant database, or just a guerrilla marketing campaign to improve the New Life brand?
Poncy excels with evocative world-building and connections between characters that keep readers immersed and guessing until the end. The morality facing the characters who want to flee to the promise of Sweetland rather than try to fix the problems in front of them, offers a stark reminder to readers: “We always build a level of abstraction, a simulated bubble of denial around ourselves to protect us from the consequences of our decisions.” This is a treat for cyberpunk and science fiction fans who like smart characters maneuvering through introspective epics.
Takeaway: An intricate, cyberpunk dystopian thriller that will keep readers engrossed.
Great for fans of: Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A