3 out of 4 stars
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In this second installment of the 2084 series, Dune and Fennic now live in the tunnels far below the devastation of the city as they await their daughter’s birth. After what seems an eternity, the great event occurs! Within minutes of his daughter’s birth, Dune surgically places implants in her brain that enable her to link with the BCI (Brain to Computer Interface). The BCI contains the whole of human thought and knowledge for her to absorb. They name her February, Febz for short. Febz’s development as a character is detailed and intriguing. She has been genetically engineered by her father for brilliance and fed knowledge daily by the BCI. By her fifth year of life, she is nearly Dune’s equal in every area from mathematics to philosophy (which Dune loves to debate with her). By the age of ten, she is almost completely independent. She is not only able to easily complete life skills but is also fully capable of building complex machines and computers, among other advanced skills. Doted on by both parents, she lacks only one thing — life experience.
Life goes well for this unusual family until Fennec suddenly becomes deathly ill. In an attempt to save her, Dune leaves the tunnels to find Max, the geneticist who had created her. This has dire consequences. Though it costs them dearly in loss of life, the WPA (World Peace Authority) manages to capture Dune, their worst enemy. Will Fennic survive without the medical care Dune was bringing, or is young February destined to grow up without human companionship? Is Dune fated to endure ‘the procedure’ and become a neutered shell of himself, or will his brilliant mind conceive a way to escape? All hangs in the balance.
Character growth did not end with Febz. Dune also experiences immense growth, although the manner in which it develops is far from orthodox. Fennic displays an entirely different type of growth as she struggles with her illness and the concept of her possibly imminent death. This is perhaps the most poignant part of the story. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal more without spoilers.
Before I continue expounding on 2084: Book Two: 207X, by Jadon Landon Peterson, I am compelled to include several trigger warnings. I will tell you openly that if you are even moderately easy to offend, steer clear. However, I will also tell you that even the most ‘distasteful’ concepts and events in the book are there for a specific reason. Everything serves a purpose by moving the story along, intensifying your understanding of Dune’s sense of morality (or lack thereof), or by displaying the ethical values and moral philosophies by which humanity lives in that reality. There are explicit scenes of rape, hints of pedophilia, nudity, fully described sex scenes, one chapter of graphically described cannibalism, and moderately misogynistic themes.
The author writes to evoke reactions, contemplation, and self-reflection from his readers. Complex philosophical ‘arguments’ that Dune has with himself abound. Unfortunately, that was where I had difficulty with the book. To be clear, I enjoy philosophy and discussing different views within it. However, unlike in 2084: Book One: 2069, where the author deftly wove these elements into the story, in this second book, the discussions went on and on. While they were always relevant to the plot and Dune’s state of mind, it felt more like they were interrupting the story than being woven into it. However, I must admit, these lines of argument, the storyline, and the events within it were thought-provoking. Two of the most soul-searching questions that came about in my case were: “Is this wrong, or is it something I would simply do differently?” Part of his psychosis is that Dune believes himself to be the essence of evil. Indeed, our psychotic anti-hero does many blatantly iniquitous things. Does this make him evil even though he did them for the ‘right’ reason?
This book does not stand on its own. There are many references to events and people in the first book. I strongly advise reading 2084: Book One: 2069 before reading this one for the best understanding of the story. I must state emphatically that this book is for adults only due to the content previously mentioned. I would recommend it to those who love challenging and philosophical sci-fi with dark undertones. Having an open mind is essential to enjoying the book. Regretfully, due to the book having more than ten errors and the difficulties stated above, I am unable to award it full stars. However, I enthusiastically give it 3 out of 4 stars for the author’s talent in evoking his reader’s emotions and self-reflection and the intriguing storyline.
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