Remember this feature? Well, I’m bringing it back since I’ve been reading a lot more “adult” books that aren’t necessarily romance. Up first is…

Amped by Daniel H. Wilson

Technology makes them superhuman. But mere mortals want them kept in their place. Enter a stunning world where technology and humanity clash in terrifying and surprising ways.

Some people are implanted with upgrades that make them capable of superhuman feats. The powerful technology has profound consequences for society, and soon a set of laws is passed that restricts the abilities—and rights—of “amplified” humans.

On the day that the Supreme Court passes the first of these laws, 29-year-old Owen Gray discovers that his seizure-supressing medical implant is actually a powerful upgrade. Owen joins the ranks of a new persecuted underclass known as “amps” and is forced to go on the run, desperate to reach an outpost in Oklahoma where, it is rumoured, a group of the most enhanced amps are about to change the world—or destroy it.

Amped was a very interesting look at the logical next step to humankind. We’re already designing technology to fit around our ears, recognize our voices or commands, and to do everything a computer can do without being any bigger than the size of your hand. So, why not put something in your brain that will help you focus and utilize the power it holds? Seems like a great idea, right?

The majority of this book, from the persecution of the ‘Amps’ to the laws being passed in rapid succession, reminded me of the X-Men. Just stick with me for a bit on this. In the comics, and even in the movies, mutants are feared by the public once their numbers start growing and it becomes clear they’re the future. “Normal” people, especially a select few in the government, fear for their jobs and livelihood and in order to get more power, start going after the mutants while they’re still a minority. It’s a classic move made by people who fear change, ever since people first started coming over to this land and driving out the Native Americans. What? There are other people who are different than us? Clearly we’re the normal ones and they’re the ones that need to be suppressed. Even though this time around it’s because some people elected to have this done to them and some were given the opportunity by the very government persecuting them for it now in order to “fix” their mental handicap, it doesn’t matter. It’s still fear of change and hatred of being different. The name may change, but the message behind it is the same.

Beyond the social commentary involved in the book, it’s also about Owen Gray. This guy who thinks he has a medical ‘amp’ in his head to stop epileptic attacks, but it turns out, that’s not all it does. He goes on the run after the Supreme Court passes their judgement to an Amped community in Oklahoma. From there, things take a turn for the… worst? In some ways it’s worst, but in others, it’s good for Owen because he gets some answers about what’s in his head and why.

There are action sequences, tech talk, and villainous ways throughout this book. It was a good read, and it definitely makes you think about what you’d do if faced with a similar situation. Hopefully none of you will have to, but if you do, don’t treat this book like a how-to guide. Owen’s not exactly James Bond. He’s just a normal guy who had this situation thrust upon him and is reacting to events around him, rather than being proactive. The poor guy. But he learns, eventually.

To figure out what he learns and how he reacts to that, you’ll have to read Amped, which is currently available everywhere.

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