$25 GIVEAWAY and REVIEW: Division Zero by Matthew S. Cox
Published on March 7th 2014 Genres: Adult, Mystery, New Adult, Paranormal, Science Fiction
Most cops get to deal with living criminals, but Agent Kirsten Wren is not most cops.
A gifted psionic with a troubled past, Kirsten possesses a rare combination of abilities that give her a powerful weapon against spirits. In 2418, rampant violence and corporate warfare have left no shortage of angry wraiths in West City. Most exist as little more than fleeting shadows and eerie whispers in the darkness.
Kirsten is shunned by a society that does not understand psionics, feared by those who know what she can do, and alone in a city of millions. Every so often, when a wraith gathers enough strength to become a threat to the living, these same people rely on her to stop it.
Unexplained killings by human-like androids known as dolls leave the Division One police baffled, causing them to punt the case to Division Zero. Kirsten, along with her partner Dorian, wind up in the crosshairs of corporate assassins as they attempt to find out who – or what – is behind the random murders before more people die.
She tries to hold on to the belief that no one is beyond redemption as she pursues a killer desperate to claim at least one more innocent soul – that might just be hers.
Division Zero is a special unit inside a futuristic police precinct where agent Kirsten Wren works hard taming wayward ghosts. This might lead you to believe this is a horror story, but it’s not. Not really. It’s definitely a cyberpunk-ish science fiction mystery that has plenty of noir elements to it. In addition to the horror elements, the mystery elements, and the science fiction elements, it’s also quite angsty.
Kirsten has a dark past that she has been struggling to come to terms with ever since she was pulled from her mother’s care. Born a psyonic (someone with amazing mind posers who can not only read the thoughts of others, but also control matter to a certain extent) who saw ghosts and was raised under the care of a religious zealot of a mother, Kirsten’s entire childhood was filled with horrors. Her mother firmly beloved she was the product of the devil and punished her accordingly. This makes Kirsten cynical towards religion and in some cares, hostile as well. I quite enjoyed the verbal sparring she had with her partner on matters of religion.
I enjoyed Kirsten and I enjoyed the world building. I’m not a huge horror reader and I’m not quite sure if i like the horror elements added into this SF story, but nonetheless, the actual plot about possessed “robots” going crazy and killing people was very intriguing. I also loved the noir detective feel to it, which is sort of a play off the cyberpunk. in fact, now that I think about it, the cyberpunk aspect was not that strong. But it didn’t matter to me. Some of those tropes have been done and done to death. Division Zero almost had an Altered Carbon feel to it. That’s one of my favorite series of all time, so that’s a plus for me. But where the latter had an in your face hero to match the hostile and violent world up on which the mystery was built, I don’t think Kirsten quite lived up to that level of character development.
The floating Asian boat restaurant is a favorite image of mine straight out of The Fifth Element, but it’s a good one. Cyberpunk and Asian restaurants are cliche in all the right ways. And the whole thing was very much like a new take on Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. I’m not sure I liked the term “dolls” for the robots. It does lend to a more noir feeling of the story, doll was a common term in those hard boiled mysteries, but it’s sorta cheesy and not a term I would expect from the creepy insane robots. But all in all, Division Zero was an exciting mystery with plenty of original science fiction aspects that work together to create an interesting plot and some cool twisty moments..
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