This was a book I purchased after seeing the cover online and being intrigued by the ideas behind it. I generally really enjoy dystopian fiction but I was a little unsure what to expect from this one as it's described as 'sci-fi' on the back cover, and sci-fi is one of the few genres I tend to avoid.
I'm really glad I decided to pick this one up a few days ago as it's a gripping and rather disturbing look at a possible future. This review is hard to write because I went into this book not knowing much about it and I think this is the best way to approach it. What I will say is that the book consists of 3 tapes narrated by Kyle Straker after events in his village take a very strange turn...
I really enjoyed the set-up of the tapes and the 'missing' parts from the blank space at the beginning and end of every tape. I also loved the footnotes added explaining popular culture references like Coldplay, and these really added some humour to the book. Although the characters could have been more developed, this may will be a necessary limitation of the 'tapes' set-up, meaning the events of the novel are filtered through Kyle's experiences alone.
This book is so current in its references to Twitter and the like that it succeeds in making the version of the future it presents that much more chilling and believable. The reader can only discover what the characters do which does make for some unanswered questions at the end of the book, although I gather a follow-up is planned.
'0.4' is a great introduction to dystopian fiction and one that reminded me of Michael Grant's 'Gone' series. It reads like a 'Brave New World' lite and would be ideal for teens not quite ready to tackle classics such as '1984'.
A thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking novel that raises the question: how many advances in new technology or too many?