84K (Review) // A scary analysis of the future, uniquely styled, transferable circumstances

From one of the most original new voices in modern fiction comes a startling vision of a world where you can get away with anything . . .

Theo Miller knows the value of human life – to the very last penny.

Working in the Criminal Audit Office, he assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.

But when his ex-lover is killed, it’s different. This is one death he can’t let become merely an entry on a balance sheet.

Because when the richest in the world are getting away with murder, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up.

From the award-winning Claire North comes an electrifying and provocative new novel which will resonate with readers around the world.

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What is worse—for you to lose the one you love or for the one you love to be destroyed by losing you? Theo Miller works in the Criminal Audit Office. Every day he evaluates how much crimes should cost the perpetrator; assigning value to human life in pounds. When his childhood friend Dani Cumali is killed, he is no longer willing to be a complacent citizen and goes on the run trying to find out the truth behind The Company. Told in flashbacks, present times, and glimpses at the future, 84K is an updated dystopia challenging your belief in the corporate world and highlighting the dangerous possibilities of the future.

The best thing about this book is that it really makes you think. Claire North shows injustice in your face, daring you not to react, not to want change. The need for something new becomes urgent in 84K as you are exposed to the danger of a world run by corporates more than the government. The construct of the “patty line” and indemnities transforms modern conventions in a futuristic sense. I really like how the story progressed, and the pace really speeds up towards the end. The book is told in a really unique style, all about flow and rhythm rather than a linear narrative. It does take some getting used to, but serves the story well.

84K isn’t all that character based, and the main character is little more than a ghost. At the start it is revealed that Theo Miller isn’t his real name, and we never find out what is; at first this disappointed me a little but then I realised it’s because it’s simply irrelevant to the story. Theo starts as a blank slate but as the layers are added he develops a conscience and becomes more human. The purpose of characters like Neila, Philip and Simon are unclear at the start but they become more crucial for the finale. On Theo’s journey he comes across people from all walks of life, the author making no attempt to hide how horrid some of their lives/situations are, of how extremely rich and privileged others are.

My only objection with the style of writing is that at times it is unclear whether the events being described are past, present, or future. This may have been a deliberate choice but I felt that it was important to know because of the nature of the book. The length, to me, seemed a little excessive; there were parts full of excitement while others were quite stagnant which felt like an unnecessary addition. What I’m saying is that I think the book could’ve been more concise at times.

There’s nothing more terrifying than a well-written dystopia which is all too likely to become reality; in this regard 84K delivers perfectly. Through a unique style of writing and a curious, faceless main character Claire North brings to life a world filled with corruption, greed, and underhanded dealing. It is also shown that even those broken by the system can have hope, and dream of better things. So let this book be a reminder that change must occur; lest we begin living in the world of 84K.

~I received a copy from Hachette NZ and willingly reviewed it~

If you’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale, this book is definitely for you! What other books have scared you because of how probably the situations/worlds they describe are?

 Xoxo, Cas

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