REVIEW: All Rights Reserved, Gregory Scott Katsoulis

Thursday, 17 January 2019

In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent. Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks, for every nod, for every scream and even every gesture of affection. She’s been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can’t begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she’s unable to afford. But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Rather than read her speech—rather than say anything at all—she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again, sparking a movement that threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.

All Rights Reserved stands upon a truly amazing concept, one that becomes more and more recognisable and tangible with each passing day that the orange man sits perched in a particular white house, but its world-building, characterisation and writing really let the initial idea down. And, I am just frustrated, you know? Because this could have been so groundbreaking and refreshing after nigh on a decade of an over-saturated market of same-same dystopian fiction, but the execution just really was not there. And, because of us reading so many of them, we are all far too aware of the fact that a dystopian is reliant on its execution; on the world it describes, on the people whose suffering it elicits. Without them, everything on the page just feels blurred around the page; like wisps of intangible smoke blowing away to some unknowable place. And, All Rights Reserved was as out-of-focus and insubstantial as it gets.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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