Book Review: The Price of Rebellion by Michael C Bland

“My name is Dray Quintero. You may have heard of me…If we fail, generations will pay the price.” This is how Michael C. Bland presents his second compelling instalment in The Price Of Series.

The Price of Rebellion is a tough, provocative science fiction novel, with an intriguing and surprising plot that projects us into the black hole of our future, technologically advanced but morally corrupt, and very similar to our present, given that the impulses of human beings pass through, unchanged, even the most radical changes. Such as, for example, the possibility of digitizing one's consciousness and manipulating the population by those in power.

We are in 2047, in a harsh and difficult future where US technology has made great progress and yet the same cannot be said about political morality. The political class has found the secret to the manipulation of people and minds.

Dray Quintero, an engineer who designed and invented some of the technology that enables the government to do ubiquitous surveillance is driven by a deep desire to avenge his daughter's death and free his nation from the oppressive regime. The narrative rhythm captures the reader and immerses him in Drays' mission: to expose the hidden dangers of mandated implants to his fellow citizens.

Here is the perfect, inhuman life. Here is Dray. Certainly, the politicians have appropriated his ethical control, his vision of billions of lives and beings that flow below. Dray however has a much stronger morality, albeit in his own way. However distorted, his view of good and evil is still present, and he is a man who claims to fully exercise his free will.

Dray finds himself in the hands of arrogant politicians and rogue agents who drag him into the perverse mechanisms of an establishment that has distorted the meaning of life and freedom, a society for which individuals are just pawns in a game played by those who are determined to stay in power.

Dray guides us to discover the profound secrets of this society of a not too distant future. Behind the glossy veil of Government hide arrogance, the absence of values, and decadence. The powerful in government have created a mechanism of manipulation of life and people, a perverse way aimed at guaranteeing political supremacy.

The novel has its own complexity and there are different focuses of the story. The theme of control and people's free will therefore represents an important part of the narrative. Thus, the science fiction novel acquires shades of noir crime fiction and follows Dray in his journey and his mental ruminations on the suspects and his quest for justice leads to a discovery that could change the very fabric of the nation.

Beyond this digitalized society in which everything become data, freedom is a privilege of the few. People are pawns on a chessboard, just like Dray who can't even live his life in freedom.

The pace of the narrative is fast paced for the most part, focusing on many details to allow us to clearly understand the characters as well as all the details of the plot. Surely, those who love science fiction stories with a pinch of noir and crime fiction will find this novel to be a very pleasant and compelling read.

Dray makes you see the future through his own eyes, you have to look at his story with your own. Dray is a character who does not inspire excessive sympathy, but to whom you soon become attached and who you follow holding your breath as he moves from one potentially deadly situation to another, playing with powers greater than himself.

Immersing yourself in reading “The Price of Rebellion” is not as easy as you might expect. Although Michael C. Bland's prose is fluid and the dialogues are flowing, natural and very useful in making the narrative dynamic and "cinematic", the defined background to which the vast majority of science fiction literature has accustomed us projects the book more into the dimension of thriller or noir, in that of the dystopian future.

I discovered a book that is quite different, and this made the reading even more compelling than it already was. The author has a very original style, and the narrative flows fluidly and immediately immerses you in the futuristic world in which the protagonist moves, between centenarian men and scheming political forces.

Perhaps not suitable for everyone but recommended for lovers of hard-boiled novels and non-classical science fiction. The hardboiled influences are evident throughout the narrative and the author does not hide it. It offers great inspiration. In conclusion, the book left me very satisfied, with an absolute masterpiece, and certainly with good work and excellent narration.

This is one of the books that absolutely must be read before seeing it transposed through the eyes of others. A read I highly recommend. I recommend it to anyone who wants an intricate, adrenaline-filled, wild and surprising thriller.

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