Science fiction and fantasy                                            



Nylon Angel

by Marianne de Pierres

cover  

Parrish Plessis lives in a world where the divide between rich and poor is lethally enforced. On the wrong side of that divide, she has been working as a bodyguard in a world of genetic and cyber enhancements, overcrowding, fear and squalor. The soil has become so toxic that nothing will grow on it, and it's not even safe to walk on barefoot.

At the start of the book Parrish is Jamon Mondo's girl, a situation she would do almost anything to change. Mondo is the leader of a gang that controls territory in the Tert, and he's dangerous. The city is carved up between factions who are a law unto themselves. The only rules are that the poor have no protection. Even the rats are the size of dogs and have a taste for human flesh. Marianne de Pierres is not showing us some rose-tinted future where technology improves living conditions, quite the opposite.

When the journalist Razz Retribution is murdered, Parrish finds herself involved in sheltering a suspect. The media control the eyes of the wealthy world, and the truth is very much their decision. So when they decide that someone is guilty, that person will pay for the crime no matter what. Their hovering cameras and interrogation units are everywhere.

When Parrish meets the crimelord Io Lang he seems to offer her a way to escape Jamon Mondo. But nothing goes smoothly, and she finds herself implicated in a crime she didn't commit. Soon everyone wants a piece of her, for reasons ranging from revenge and perversion to the fact that she might be edible.

Parrish is no angel. She's prone to violence, the sort of person who could snap at any minute for no apparent reason. But a strange transformation is happening to her. Parrish begins to experience hallucinations, and the people of the Muenos about her as though she is some kind of saviour. Something very odd is going on, only she comes to suspect that something is changing within her, and that it's not at all benevolent.

Nylon Angel is a breathless, bloody hunt through the sewers and underbelly of the future. The backdrop is a world that has poisoned itself and a society that's falling to pieces. Marianne de Pierres' future is a colourful but terrifying place. The plot is satisfyingly complex, adding nuance to the brutality. Although this book is quite dark, it moves too quickly to be depressing. If there's a message here about the state of the environment, the media, and the way we treat the dispossessed, it's in the background rather than something that is being preached at readers. Parrish Plessis is one of the most vivid characters science fiction has produced in years: brazen, intense, and unstoppable.

If this review seems a little gushing, that's because there's little to find fault with in Nylon Angel. Perhaps if you are sensitive to violence this will not be the book for you. Otherwise it's a thoroughly entertaining read which comes highly recommended.

Book Details

Year: 2004

Categories: Books

  Science fiction
    Female Protagonist  
  Not For The Squeamish  

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5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson

More about Marianne de Pierres