Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Future Will Be BS-Free by Will McIntosh

Synopsis (via Goodreads): In this terrifyingly timely tale for fans of The Eye of Minds, a teen and his group of friends find themselves on the run after using a genius lie-detector contraption to expose their corrupt government.

In a Putin-esque near-future America, the gifted and talented high school has just been eliminated, and Sam and his friends have been using their unexpected free time to work on a tiny, undetectable, utterly reliable lie detector. They're all in it for the money--except Theo, their visionary. For Theo, it's about creating a better world. A BS-free world, where no one can lie, and the honest will thrive.

Just when they finish the prototype and turn down an offer to sell their brainchild to a huge corporation, Theo is found dead. Greedy companies, corrupt privatized police, and even the president herself will stop at nothing to steal the Truth App. Sam sets his sights on exposing all lies and holding everyone accountable.


But he and his friends quickly realize the costs of a BS-free world: the lives of loved ones, and political and economic stability. They now face a difficult question: Is the world capable of operating without lies, or are lies what hold it together?

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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

First of all, the synopsis is a little misleading. It did not feel like a "Putin-esque near-future", but they did mention Russia and cyberattacks a few times. If this was supposed to be satirical, it needed more oomph. For example, the president is super shady and tortures teens by bursting their eardrums with excessively loud music. She also asks civilians to take up arms and hunt down innocent people on their own. Those people felt empowered and easily justified their actions with no evidence. Oh, and she rhymes everything she says to the public, but I have absolutely no idea why. I don't even know if the characters noticed.

After about seventy percent, I started skimming through to the end. It just became a tad too ridiculous and unbelievable for me. The previously mentioned ear drums, the lack of adulting from parents and teachers (they just went along with teenage shenanigans and barely questioned anything), and the way everything just sort of fell into place made me lose interest in the story. I also have no idea how the president managed to stay in power.

I liked the concept for the story, and I was curious how their portable lie detector would work. However, even that is only vaguely explained. The reader is supposed to believe something is possible just because someone says it is, but I want the facts to back it up. If you want me to believe something, make me believe it with the writing. They somehow ended up with two rings and used facial recognition, but I have no idea how it worked. It's set in the future, so some of the technology they were using and referencing wasn't familiar to me.

I would have enjoyed more details about their initial escape, but that was over way too quickly. The characters body-shame themselves quite often, and even one of the adults makes fun of a girl for being overweight. The author mentions her being carried multiple times, and not because she's weak or tired. It's implied that she's slowing them down because she's too heavy and slow to keep up. 

Some of the characters formed instant attachments to people, and in the end I just couldn't do it anymore. It's hard to explain exactly how I felt... there was just something off about the entire story. It didn't flow together or hold my attention, and I can't get lost in a book that I don't believe in.

25 comments:

  1. I hadn't heard of this one before you reviewed it, so I thought - oh, it sounds different and promising! After reading your review, it seems like this is a heavy case of "great premise, flat execution". It's a bummer. There are so many awesome ideas around, and not all the books they're based on live up to their potential. The eardrums stuff sounds hilarious, only in the wrong way. Torture teens with excessively loud music? 😂 Also, the body shaming. Seriously? Why include a diverse (so to speak) body type for all the wrong reasons?

    Quote: "If you want me to believe something, make me believe it with the writing."
    YES. That makes all the difference. I for one love impossible things, but you have to be able to sell them to me!

    Very balanced review though. I suppose this one might work for the younger end of the teen spectrum (no disrespect here, but they might go along with it better. Fat-shaming aside...).

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    1. They were completely serious about the eardrums... A guy in the secret service placed earbuds into a seventeen-year-old kid's ears and blasted music until his eardrums were bleeding. It was too farfetched for me, especially since the president was also there slapping him around. I doubt someone in her position would want to get her hands dirty or risk being associated with what was happening. I just could not get behind the characters or the story. There wasn't enough substance.

      The body-shaming was unnecessary and didn't further a plot point. I feel like the author could have gone in a different direction, but instead made it look like she was hurting the group and only had a brain working in her favor.

      Right? I love being able to believe in impossible things! I just need to be convinced throughout the story that they exist and why. I recently finished the Age of Legends series by Kelley Armstrong, and now I believe in Shadow stalkers, Thunderbirds, and Death worms (the spelling might be wrong because I listened to the audiobooks and never actually saw the words, lol). Armstrong wrote them in a way that made me believe in my bones they existed (at least while reading the books), and even gave them histories and such.

      I don't know how I would categorize this one, or for what age group. There's a little grave-robbing, a briefly mentioned anxiety disorder, disinterested parents and affairs... it really was all over the place.

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  2. The concept sounds really good but the execution seems to be lacking which is a pity! I don't like the idea of the body shaming.

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    1. I concur! The body-shaming was unnecessary and irrelevant to the story. I asked to review this book because I liked the idea of a completely honest world, but it was poorly executed. The brain is complicated... Is a lie a lie if I don't know it's a lie? For example, I believe in Global Warming, but there are those people that do not. There is factual, scientific evidence indicating the existence and harmful effects of Global Waring, but still people who refuse to believe. They can honestly say they don't think it's real and be telling the truth, even though evidence would state otherwise. I wish the small discrepancies like this had been addressed within the book, and that the science behind their invention had felt more solid.

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  3. Okay the rhyming thing is interesting... LOL! This does sound like it was quite the read. I can't blame you for skimming by the end. Sorry it didn't have more oomph for you and was more engaging.

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    1. I honestly have no idea why she rhymed he speeches to the public. She even managed to make one rhyme with circumcision, so that was weird. I would go back and quote one for you, but I no longer have the copy I was reading. I delete them after my review posts!

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  4. I mean, I can see a president getting away with a lot, but you also have to explain how they hold on to their power too. The army fights for them? Or something else? And the same for the lie detector - you can't just say something is; you have to give some reason, like you said! Too bad this one wasn't as good as you'd hoped. It seems like it could have been a good read with that summary!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. You don't really see an army fighting for her either, though they are mentioned a few times. She sends out strike teams or solo soldiers to discreetly "resolve issues." Why would she need an army when she can just ask the public to take matters into their own hands? Most of them were armed and looking for a reason to pull the trigger. She doesn't have to get her hands dirty if someone else takes care of her problems.

      I get that she lied about what took down the economy, and that she likely had a hand in it herself, but I'm really not sure what happened. There was a war, but it doesn't really explain how it related to their current crisis. I'm still really confused by a lot of things.

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  5. I think it would have been difficult for me as well there

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    1. There were a lot of things I found difficult about this book, lol.

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  6. I considered this one for review but ended up taking a pass and now I'm glad I did.

    The rhyming thing seems weird and that nobody noticed...

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I know this sounds terrible, but I wish I'd passed on it. It just sounded like it had the potential to be really great... ugh. Now I feel like that time could have been spent reading something else.

      The rhyming was so strange. I also still have no idea how the Truth App actually works. The mechanics aren't described in detail, but we're supposed to believe that you just point and shoot for results. I could have gone on and on about this one, but chose not to. There's only so much time in a day.

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  7. Sorry you didn't like it more. Doesn't sound like my kind of book.

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    1. It's okay! There's always the next book. I also recently finished a wonderful trilogy, so my brain is still high on its awesomeness. ;)

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  8. That's a shame, the synopsis made it sound interesting :(

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    1. I know! The synopsis really sold me on this one, but the story itself didn't deliver.

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    2. It was like that for me with The Assassin Game, the only thing I liked was the ending.

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  9. By the end of the synopsis I was keen to read this one, but it sounds from your review as though The Future really doesn't justify itself. A shame as ideas like a rhyming president, and a female one at that, could be interesting and I'd love to know how the device worked too.

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    1. I liked that there was a female president, but she was the worst. You would think that someone in her position would have to be somewhat intelligent, but her actions made me think otherwise. They rhyming was completely random and rarely made sense.

      I know the device needed a 3D printer and SQUID, but we're never told what those things were used for. They acquired them and then suddenly had a prototype.

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  10. Sounds like a mess! No thanks.

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    1. That's a good way to describe it. I wish there had been more details and less other stuff.

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  11. I guess by Putin-esque, they meant it's kind of based off of it? Not sure. But gee, I thought this would be something I would really enjoy (plus I like that title) - doesn't sound like it from your review. I would probably DNF based on your descriptions of how exaggerated and ridiculous everything is made to be in the book. Though it sounds like you DNFed it too?

    And oh my goodness body shaming. -_-

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    1. I honestly don't know... it didn't feel like it. I think Russia was the scapegoat in this scenario. The Truth App showed that the president wasn't telling the whole truth when it came to Russia's involvement.

      I did not DNF this one! I finished reading it, but started skimming at the end. I didn't mind missing a few things here and there, but still wanted to see where the story went. It would have been a DNF had I not already read 70% of it.

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  12. Yikes. So I saw this one at ALA, and while the synopsis seemed interesting, I was just not confident that it could be executed well? And I guess that was a good life choice hah. Because it sounds quite messy. I can suspend *some* disbelief in a book, but come on, I need to at least be made to understand why things are happening! Also the appearance/fat shaming is AWFUL, especially if it wasn't done as like, a learning experience for the characters. Sorry this one didn't work out for you, but awesome review!!

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    1. I do not believe it was executed well. I feel like I should have a better understanding of the Truth App and how it works. However, I know that it exists and that it allows you to determine when someone is lying. I wanted the science and the mechanics. I wanted the author to make me believe in this insane creation that had the potential to change the world. Instead, I'm just supposed to believe it works just because.

      The body shaming was in no way a learning experience. The girl thought she was fat, the others thought she was fat, and they claimed she slowed them down while trying to escape. It was awful to read about, and I'm sure worse to experience. These people were supposed to be her friends and adults that should know better.

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