Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller
First of all, I’d like to thank Darque Dreamer for recommending this book and also for recommending that I get it as an audiobook, because wow, the narration was fantastic! Matthew Mercer did such a good job, his narration was full of personality, I could tell each character apart easily and it never felt caricature-like. I’m quite impressed.
The Punch Escrow is set in the year of 2147, where air pollution has been eradicated by genetically-engineered mosquitoes who feed on fumes, people have control over how they age and transportation is done via teleportation, which is offered exclusively by the mysterious and powerful company International Transport. Our protagonist Joel has a very interesting job: he trains apps with artificial intelligence to be more human and understand the complexity of human interaction. He’s a quite normal guy, trying to save his failing marriage, listening to 1980s New Wave and generally being a smart-mouth. Except… one day, when teleporting to meet his wife Sylvia for a very much needed vacation in Costa Rica, Joel gets accidentally duplicated. Now he must use every trick he knows to save his skin from a company that will do anything to keep its secret safe…
Can I just say I love the concept of teleportation plus its ethical and moral dilemmas? I was discussing this with my boyfriend literally two weeks before starting this book, so I was quite pleased by the theme. Awesome!
The world building was quite realistic and interesting – a future where things are different and technology was definitely improved. It scared me and fascinated me the idea of having a chip which is your entire identity implanted in you, and apps that will talk and interact with you like best friends… it’s both creepy and cool.
The Punch Escrow’s style reminded me a bit of Dark Matter with a touch of Dan Brown-esque conspiracy. Which for me is a winner. It was very engaging, the main characters intriguing, smart, complex and with depth – which sometimes thrillers fail at, but this book definitely delivered.
While I loved the way this book both keeps you on the edge of your seat and also provokes thought on technology, morals and how far one will go for the sake of a bit of comfort, it also felt like it digressed from time to time, spending too much time on discussing those points. Although very interesting, I wish it’d been kept a bit shorter. It also felt to me like the ending was longer than it needed to be, but it didn’t bother me, really.
The audio takes a little under 9 hours to listen to, and I just had to listen to all of it in one day. So if you like taking a good thriller for travelling, you definitely won’t even feel the time pass by as you read this!