Recommended Read: Robyn’s Egg by Mark Souza


I really can’t say I “enjoyed” this techno-thriller from Mark Souza, much as this feature is supposed to be about books I enjoyed. I really, really didn’t though. And I mean no offense to the author by that at all – some of the best books I’ve read I didn’t exactly “enjoy”. So why am I recommending it?

Because
as uncomfortable and disquieting as it is, it really made me think. For
one thing, the basic plot starts off with this all-consuming need to
procreate…and I don’t have a bone in my body telling me I need to have
kids (never have, that’s why I don’t). Because of the way procreation
is handled in Souza’s post-apocalyptic (for lack of a better term)
world, this need pervades every single part of the character’s lives.
People want a child so badly they will actually steal one right out in
public…and I have absolutely no way to relate to that kind of
all-consuming hunger to be a parent. Those who are parents or have that
desire to be parents won’t have such a difficult time identifying with
that part of the book, methinks, though the opposite view is represented
as well (sort of). And the whole thing is…well, I really can’t say more than that without spoiling the tension that builds while you’re reading, so you’ll have to just read it.

The other
part of this book that really shook me to the core was the societal
set-up, and the way people just accepted it, even if they didn’t
particularly like it, for a good portion of the book. I kept screaming
in my head, “Leave! Just leave! Why do you stay?!” As an extremely
independent individual, I was completely unnerved at the thought that
perhaps there was really no where else to go, and that the existence
described was all there was. Which made me okay with other parts of the
book I normally wouldn’t have been. Funny how the mind works, isn’t it?
But that’s exactly what would happen in Souza’s world, so it was spot
on, as much as it made me itch.

To
make a rather vague review even more vague, hard and harder choices are at the heart of
this book. There often are no “good” choices in the lives of these
people, and so they have to do as well as they can within exceedingly
tight boundaries, even at the end. As usual, Souza does a great job of
keeping his characters authentic all the way through, and really that’s a
big part of what makes it easy to slip into their heads and see the
journey as they see it, feeling what they feel.

This
should be required reading for everyone, IMO. It’s not your average
two-hour escape fest, but rather a complex and terrifying prediction of
how our world could be someday if we align everything just right. Or
wrong, as the case may be.

As a point of disclaimer: I’ve been a fan of Mark’s work for awhile now and while I don’t know him all that well, I do enjoy chatting with him from time to time.


I’m not a
professional reviewer, I don’t accept offerings direct from writers or
publishing houses (so don’t email asking me to review your book – that’s an
excellent way to ensure I never read it), and there’s a very good chance
I know the authors of over half the books I’ll recommend, so my opinion
is likely biased on any given day. This is just me telling you about a
great book I recently read. Nothing more, nothing less.