HellSans – by Ever Dundas

I know I really enjoyed a book when I can’t stop thinking about it after I’m done reading it. I finished this book a few hours ago and the two main characters, Icho and Jane won’t leave my thoughts. I feel like they’ll be taking up residence there for a while to come.

HellSans is a book about a futuristic world where a country decides to only use a font called HellSans. It has the ability to create a state of bliss in anyone who reads it. In this world everyone also has their own personal little robot called an Inex. I was so enchanted by the thought of having an Inex, I even dreamed about them! The Inex can connect with their human to have internal conversations with them, read their biometrics and give them advice about how to live their best life! Sounds like a promising world, right? What could possibly go wrong?

Besides being a great dystopian sci-fi adventure, HellSans also raises some ethical questions about where society is today and how we want to go into the future. And on a technical note, do we really know who has access to all of the personal information we put out there on our phones, online, and other places where we connect with technology? No matter how innocent the information, could it fall into the wrong hands and be used against us? These are big questions to ponder. While your wheels are spinning on those, let’s get back to the story!

The book itself is written in a style I haven’t seen before. There are three sections. The first two run parallel to one another and can be read in any order. They tell the stories of the two main characters, Icho and Jane, from when they first meet to another shared pivotal point in the story (the start of the third section). You get to know each character quite well in these sections while they’re going through their own trials. Then the story lines are pulled together quite nicely in the third section. Some additional interesting perspective work is done in the third section that I can’t go into detail about because of spoilers. But I really enjoy how the perspective jumps from character to character to the third person perspective. It sounds like it should be confusing, but it isn’t at all! This is why I love it!

So to wrap this up, this book had solid characters, a very realistic world, something deeper to think about – or not. You can ignore the societal and ethical questions altogether and just enjoy the story if you like.

The only thing that kept me from giving the book five stars was that it was a little hard to get into. It starts right out with action and it was hard to wrap my head around who the characters were, what was going on and why. But it didn’t take me long to figure it out and I was fully invested in the story. I’m happy to give HellSans four solid stars.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Angry Robot, for the book in exchange for my honest review.

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