The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
August 30th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co.
From Goodreads: Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other— Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries.
Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.
Everyone except Jenna Fox.
I absolutely loved the battle between science and morality that was presented in The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Without giving too much away (in case you haven't read it YET), Jenna Fox and her friends were in a horrible accident. At that time, technology had advanced so much that an entire human body could be replicated- not just cloned, but regrown, with everything it had before. But, the catch was, you could only reproduce up to a certain amount. For Jenna to live, an illegal amount of replication was necessary which left her father, the scientist who invented the technology, the tough choice of breaking the law, or letting his child die. Jenna lived.
It's a remarkable story of self acceptance and adaptation and a damn fine dystopian novel. The Fox Inheritance is the sequel.
Jenna was not the only one involved in the accident. Her two best friends were involved as well but their bodies were so far gone that even the Biogel technology could not save them. Before their bodies expired, Jenna's father uploaded the data from Kara and Locke's brains. Whether he had hoped to replicate them at that time or not, he did it just in case. When Jenna discovered that the essence of her two best friends were trapped inside a holding device inevitably, she did the kindest thing she could think to do and had the boxes containing what was left of Kara and Locke destroyed.
But every good technician makes backups, and a rogue scientist at the Biogel lab made copies of Kara and Locke, and what remained of them, their brains, sat trapped in those boxes, forgotten for 260 years. And they can remember every excruciating, horrible day of it.
So it's not a stretch to believe that when they are given new bodies and a second chance at life, they harbor much resentment. They endured an unthinkable hell and they blamed Jenna, because she got to live. Irrational? Yes, but it was the only thing they had to hold on to. Jenna is still alive, 260 years later and they feel she needs to answer for abandoning them. I struggled with this concept perhaps the most throughout this story and tried to feel things from Locke and Kara's point of view. Jenna was blameless. She couldn't do anything about the situation and their 260 year old vendetta wasn't realistic to me. I would have thought they'd go after the lab, or the government that wouldn't let them be reproduced. Jenna's my girl, and if it came down to it, I'd want Kara and Locke eliminated to save her.
This is where I leave you on the story line. Kara and Locke are on the run from their creator, and hell bent of finding Jenna. You'll just have to read it to find out what they do to her.
The world created in The Adoration was already riddled with scientific discoveries that are unfathomable in this day and age, but 260 years later the world has evolved into the most brilliant sci-fi setting. Fierce security regulations, everything automated and computerized, robots replacing people, humanity's ever slipping hold on itself. Good stuff, and yet, outside of the system, a much more primitive normality can be found, where life goes on day to day just as it always has. I loved that. I like the fear that a good dystopian evokes in me, but I love love when even in the worst of imaginable conditions, there is enough hope to drive people to hold on to the simple things that matter. We see a lot of that when we get to visit with Jenna again.
I love Pearson's story telling. It's smooth and fast-paced. She gives you everything you want but layers it with enough emotion to make you work for it. And she gives you Officer Dot Jefferson- we should all be so lucky as to have a Dot.
"Customer Locke, I may not have everything you do, but I have more than you think and much more than I ever dreamed of. I told you, Bots dream. At least some of us do. Whether we are supposed to or not, whether it was ever planned or not, we dream. Some of us think beyond our cabs, we imagine where our customers go and what things they see. When they jump into our cabs, we imagine where they have been, and how it has changed them. Their worlds become our secret worlds, and sometimes we share those places with other likes us and sometimes we even dare to dream that those worlds could be ours one day. We don't know if that could ever be true for us, but we hear stories. And now...I am one of those stories. Escape is not about moving from one place to another. It's about becoming more.
*Quote taken from an ARC of The Fox Inheritance and may differ in the finished copy.