Book Review: Slip by David Estes

Book Review: Slip by David EstesSlip by David Estes
Series: Slip #1
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on December 1, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Buy on Amazon

Someone must die before another can be born...

As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population. Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child. Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population. The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.

But what if one child slipped through the cracks? What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them? Would it change anything? Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?

And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?

In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a good dystopian novel. I’ve been sort of caught up in Fantasyland recently, so Slip was a nice surprise.

The best part of Slip is the world building. Estes has created a futuristic world that you can really sink your teeth into. Holo-ads float up and give you a personalized message, trying to get you to buy things. A steady source of food may be food pills, giving you all the taste of a hamburger and fries, but perhaps not quite the satisfaction the real thing brings. Each chapter ends with a news article or story, complete with community comments (all monitored and appropriately reviewed by the government of course). But perhaps the most interesting – and chilling- bit, is Pop Con and their Slip “problem”.

Dystopians thrive on a central, usually quite horrying, and yet almost in our reach type of problem (which is maybe what makes it the most horrifying?). In Slip, the government has settled on one ideal population. Anyone born “illegally” beyond this ideal number is known as an Unbee (Unauthorized Being) and then if they somehow reach the age of 2 without being…taken care of by the government, they are termed Slip. And I think we all know what I mean by “taken care of”.

Oh yes, I mean full on murder of cute little innocent babies. Unfortunately, those poor babies are seen as lower than human beings because of their illegal births. To gain a legal birth, you have to sign up for a “Death Match”, meaning you can’t have your baby until the person assigned to you dies. Too bad for you if your death match is terminally ill but then miraculously bounces back and decides to live for a few more decades.

Which brings us to our main man, Benson. Benson is a Slip. Pop Con is hunting him. Fortunately, he’s got friends in high places, that have looked out for him his whole life. But when some really bloodthirsty Hunters (Pop Con officers in charge of hunting Slips), including a psychotic cyborg, catch Benson’s scent, they go on a warpath.

I really liked Benson; he was extremely likable, if not a terribly strong main character. The conflict is the driving force of this book, there isn’t a ton of time spent on character development, but that was ok because I was so wrapped up in the world building. His adorable relationship with Luce kept my little romantic heart happy. They have a sweet friendship that becomes more, even though there’s some darkness in Luce’s past that she has to work through.

There’s a lot of complexity with how the three narrators are connected – all quite different, and each saw the conflict in very different lights – and there are some brilliant twists that are just the icing in top of a highly entertaining story. There’s action, tons of sci-fi gadgets, sweet romance, and of course, that life or death dystopian tone that has you on the edge of your seat the entire book. This is not my first David Estes book, but it very well might be my favorite. If you’re looking for a new Dystopia, look no further than Slip!


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