4 out of 4 stars
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Human cloning is now an everyday occurrence. In fact, clones are used almost as slave labor, and they have no rights. Kalin Taylor is a college student that just wants to be different than high school. He pledges for Phi Mu Alpha, but they want him to break into Project Tau, a secret facility where cloning occurs. Kalin decides to go for it despite his reservations. Unfortunately, that's where things go horribly wrong.
Project Tau is a gripping, fast-paced science fiction thriller. With close to 275 pages, the book will capture your attention quickly and not let go until long after you're finished reading. Though there is some violence and abuse, Jude Austin does well at keeping the graphic nature to a minimum. Still, I wouldn't recommend the book for a younger audience due to mature themes.
When I say science fiction, you might think aliens, future technology, or space opera. Cloning fits the bill; however, it will become fact sooner than we all think. That is what makes this story so tantalizing. Most of the story takes place on a space station years in the future, which is in keeping with the genre. Despite the futuristic nature, the strength of the story lies in its thought provoking quality. Themes of human rights, slavery, and abuse fill the pages. It's a story I thought about long after I finished reading; honestly, it's one of those books that you read with morbid fascination. You almost want to cover your eyes because you don't know if you can stand it. Something, though, pulls you back to the pages. You keep reading, though it's almost with one eye shut.
The author describes the plot as more character-driven than plot-driven. While I agree with this to an extent, there's still an element of suspense that captured my imagination. I couldn't help trying to figure out what was going, which kept me hooked from beginning to end. Having said that, I did greatly enjoy the characters as they are one of the strong points of this book. Kalin's struggle to fit in gets him in trouble, which I found very relatable. The secondary characters are a mixed bag of humanity and further added to the realism of the story.
I appreciated that, in a book with such a serious nature, the author took the time to throw in some humor. The author even manages to bring Yoda into the book. "'Try,' Tau echoed. 'You either think or you don't think; there's no trying involved.' Yoda, eat your heart out, Kalin thought with a certain kind of grim humor." It just lightened the more serious plot, which gave some much needed comic relief.
It's with the utmost regard that I give Project Tau 4 out of 4 stars. It deserves a full rating due to the easy to read writing style that draws you in as well as the verisimilitude. It's books like these that you hope you never see come to pass; nevertheless, you can still picture it. I recommend the story to those who enjoy an almost voyeuristic science fiction novel. If mature themes, while still sensitively written, make you queasy, you'll probably want to skip this read.
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