Halfskin (Book One)
Biomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body. No more kidney failure, no severed spines or blood disease. No cancer. Pharmaceuticals become obsolete. With each dose of biomites, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier.
We become better.
At what point are we no longer human?
Clay (Book Two)
Jamie wants to be a halfskin.
Her life has become dull and pointless. If she had more biomites - synthetic stem cells that promise hope - she could take control of her life. But Jamie's body is already 49.9% biomites. The rest is clay - her God-given organic cells. Any more biomites and she becomes a halfskin. And halfskins are shutdown.
But there is a way.
Bricks (Book Three)
Fabbers, slabbers and fakies were dehumanizing slurs for fabricated humans. Bricks, however, was the People's favorite.
©2015 Tony Bertauski (P)2016 Tony Bertauski
Engaging story premise and characters. Let down by the incomplete explanation of the context and all the loose ends left at the end of the third book. If there were a follow up, I would not hesitate to read it.
"Very good story made superb by a fantastic narrati"
I have received a copy of these books in audio format from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.
The story is set in the near future. Mankind has invented biomites, a kind of synthetic stem cells in order to cure diseases, save lives and even improve one's appearance. In the beginning a person had to be at least 12 years old to get seeded (getting biomites implanted) but Nix got them when he was 8 after a terrible car accident where his parents died. Biomites seem like the answer to many problems, but there is a catch, like cancer cells they reproduce without control, and the Halfskin Laws do not consider people human beings when their total biomites reach 50% of their body. When this happens, their biomites are shut down, and consequently, the 'Halfskin' person dies.
Marcus Anderson is the person in charge to enforce these Halfskin Laws, and he witnesses every shutdown in the country, convinced that he is doing the right thing since the human body is a God's present and substituting its parts is just pure abomination.
In the first book, Cali, Nix's big sister and a nanobiometric engineer, will try to save Nix's life. He is just a teenager, but has reached halfskin status and Marcus will shut him down.
The second book is titled Clay, and this is the given name to the part of the body that is not substituted by biomites. Here 'briks' will be introduced in the story. Briks are fabricated humans, 100% made by biomites. Initially all bricks were agents working for Mother, but later on some people start fabricating bricks illegally. There will be transcendent questions about the morality of fabricating a brick and whether a brick will feel different to a human been.
I loved book one, but I think book two was my favorite. There was a clear evolution in the characters and the new ones were very interesting and complex. Their relationships and conversations were fluid and credible, and I felt that I knew them.
There were a couple of very good twists in both books which made them even greater. The only thing I did not quite get was the dream land and its importance. Its introduction in book one felt a bit artificial but I suspected that something so atypical would be of importance later.
And it was, mostly in book three. This book is titled Bricks, and it is mainly about the life of all those bricks that were illegally fabricated. The topic was good but the execution was not as good as in the previous two books. The story is well written but the second half feels very long and slow. There is a big twist that could be more or less expected, which did not make a lot of sense to me. It could be because I was not very keen on the dream world idea. I am also aware of how difficult is to give a satisfactory end to a very good series.
All in all, it is an extraordinary trilogy which deserves to be read by any sci-fiction/technothriller fan.
All three books are narrated by David Dietz. It took me some minutes to get used to his voice but then I really enjoyed the narration. He is really good at making voices and keeping them consistent all along the three books. I could know who was talking at any moment and he made a fantastic impersonation of Marcus Anderson. At some point I stopped thinking of a narrator making voices and thinking of different people living the story. The story was very good, but David Dietz made it superb.
"Good concept stretched too far"
Disclaimer - This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.
I wish I could give this one a better review, but in the end this series lost my interest. The concept was interesting, but stretching it out to 3 books was asking too much.
"Interesting series perfect for sci-fi fans"
This audio box set contains all three books in the Halfskin series. I definitely recommend reading the books in order, which is why the boxed set is great. The narrator was good overall, and his regular voice is pleasant, but some of the voices that were given to certain characters had an irritating quality to them (a little whiny to my ear). Overall, the series was good, and if you are a fan of science fiction, I recommend giving it a try.
Book #1 - Halfskin: This was a truly engrossing science fiction novel. The author blends technology, religion, and law seamlessly. Though there are probably similarly premised books out there, I think this book was told creatively and has lots of original aspects.
Book #2 - Clay: This is the second book in the Halfskin trilogy, and I think this one was even better than the first. This book is much more thought-provoking as the blending of science and religion pose questions of ethics, morality, and eternity. The premise of this book was really interesting and seems like it could become reality in a not-too-distant future.
Book #3 - Bricks: This book focuses on the definition of reality, as many people are coming down with "dream sickness" where they live in a made-up reality. I can totally see the relevance of this book to modern society, where we use technology to escape reality, and can see humans going to the extremes written about in this book in time.
"I want biomites!"
Let me just say that biomites are what I hope humanity uses to extend the lifespan in our near future. As a scifi reader and writer I spend a lot of time hoping that I’ll live forever and even transfer my consciousness into a robot body. Weird? Sure, but I’m happy to wear that mantle.
The Halfskin trilogy explores this possibility in a dystopian world that cherishes and persecutes synthetic life in equal measure. Religion and science are at one another’s throats, with characters taking sides, and sometimes finding themselves blurring the lines in a search for deeper meaning and to understand what truly makes a person a person. This was a wonderful subject matter that I have also explored in a couple of my novels. Bertauski delivered on the back cover blurb! I was very satisfied with the read. Prepare to wonder what a soul is and how it may be twined with the body. This is a concept that the anime Ghost in the Shell first exposed me to, and a longstanding fascination. After all if technology could copy your mind and place it elsewhere, or even transfer it out of your brain, how would we know if the copy is truly somehow still the original? If something were missing, would we be able to detect that?
I received a free audible code in exchange for a review. Any review. That fact that it’s a good one is because the book is good. Which has nothing to do with how awesome I am. You’ll have to find that out for yourself @S_Shane_Thomas on Twitter.
Do you love well executed shifting points of view that drive a larger story? Not a glimpse through even the smallest character’s eyes was wasted here. Every perspective drives the reader toward the big question. Who is in control of the biomites, mother, and the harsh laws set to isolate anyone who is composed of greater than fifty percent biomites.
Toward the end I began to wonder if being made of the right biomites (you’ll know them when you get there) is like being Buddha or like being the Borg!
The world of Halfskin and its star inhabitants are original and leave a striking impression. Some of the imagery used to describe the Dream-eater was beautiful and compelling.
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