Book Review: The Life Engineered by J.-F. Dubeau


Title: The Life Engineered (World Engineered)

Author: J.-F. Dubeau

Release date: November 17th, 2014

Many of you will recognize the author here.

J.-F. Dubeau delivered two truly outstanding dark fiction pieces with ‘The God in the Shed’ and its sequel ‘Song of the Sandman.’ Both are firmly and solidly in the horror genre, and because of that, his debut novella, ‘The Life Engineered,’ seems to be a book that doesn’t get as much love or shared as much as it should. This novella falls squarely in the science-fiction genre and for us fans who do like to read across a few genres, I was excited to see it make it to the top of my TBR.

What I liked: The story follows a former police officer, killed in the line of duty, who consciously wakes up a thousand years later. Her mind is now in the operating system of an android-type body, one perfectly suited for life as it now exists. From here, Dubeau sets up a phenomenal back story, a new way the world operates and a very tangible and threatening device that eradicates some of what we learn and pushes the narrative forward.

I’m a big fan of this style of sci-fi/action reads and love how they are always so cinematic. Dubeau gives us shades of Murderbot, with assistance early on from a secondary character who reminded me a little of Chappie.

The pacing is great, the story flows really nicely and throughout we get huge moments that are fantastically described in vivid detail. While in his horror novels, his writing is dark and gloomy, the writing here has a stainless steel shine to it, a case of the metal described always pushing through the explosions.

The ending was really intriguing and does set up a sequel. Saying that, the cliffhanger works really well to have the readers imagination going crazy.

What I didn’t like: There’s a specific reason for it, but I really wasn’t overly keen on the Norse naming and mythology throughout. It didn’t take me out of the story or anything, but I found it really odd until we’re told why it was used.

Also, this came out in 2014 and at the moment there’s no sequel in sight. With how heavy of a cliffhanger this one has, I hope one day we see the follow up, but until then, that may dissuade perspective readers from diving in.

Why you should buy this: If you like the Martha Wells school of storytelling, you’ll love this. As well, if you’re a previous fan of Dubeau’s work from his horror releases and like sci-fi, you’ll really enjoy this one. Engaging, emotional and always chalk full of action, ‘The Life Engineered’ is a novella that had me racing through to see what happens.

This was a ton of fun.


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