Last month, I showed you the cover of J. Grace Pennington's newest book Implant. I was really looking forward to this book then, and I'm so excited to share it with you now. Because it's beyond fantastic. I can't begin to say how amazing it is. And because it's now here, I get to share an interview with Grace and my review of this fantastically amazing book!
About the Book
Welcome to the world of a universal cure.
Gordon Harding didn’t ask for the life he has. He didn’t ask to be orphaned. He didn’t ask to go through life with cancer. And he certainly didn’t ask to be pulled into a future world without warning–a world where every human being is controlled by means of a medical implant.
And when he learns that he’s the only one who can destroy the base of operations, he’s faced with an impossibly painful choice: either hide and let the world decay under this mysterious futuristic force, or rescue humanity from oppression, knowing that there’s someone out there who is willing to use any means necessary to stop him.
Nearly two years ago,to talk about her books Firmament: Radialloy and Never. Today, she’s back to talk about her brand new release, a time travel dystopian called Implant. First off, Grace, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about the things you’ve done since last time?
Hi, Morgan, thank you for having me back! I’m a self-published author, just publishing my fifth book. Three of those books are in my Firmament series, then there’s Never, a western mystery, and finally my latest book Implant. I’ve also been writing more short stories, blogging, reading, and generally doing life. It’s been quite the adventure!
Sounds like an adventure. Now to your newest book. What’s the most important thing people should know about the book before beginning to read Implant?
That’s a great question. You might want to know going in knowing that, unlike the Firmament books, this is not a Christian novel per se. I am trying to communicate godly values, and it’s clean (though violent, and one character drinks and smokes) but there’s no mention of God, no Bible verses, no prayers, etc. These characters are not Christians, so it doesn’t really come into the story. So if you’re expecting some gospel in there, you’ll be disappointed!
Implant is a dystopian with time travel. What inspired you to put those two things together? Did Doctor Who play any part in the time travel aspect? ;)
I had actually never heard of Doctor Who when I started writing this! The time travel was more inspired by Star Trek, specifically the fourth movie, where whales are required to save the world (don’t ask) and since there are none, Kirk and company have to go back in time to get some. Dystopias often feature a world in need of saving, so why not go back in time for the solution? Seemed like a natural fit to me!
I remember that Star Trek movie. It was…interesting. I agree that it sounds like a perfect fit. Could you tell us a little about the medical implants everyone in this future society has?
Well of course I can’t give away too much! But essentially the Implants are just tiny chips inserted into the heart so they can directly affect the bloodstream. They were first developed to cure cancer, but they evolved to be much more than that. By the time of the story, they can cure everything—well, almost everything.
Cool concept. But scary, my mind easily jumps to what could happen if that was put in the wrong hands. What’s one thing you want readers to take away from Implant?
Sometimes avoiding doing the right thing is no better than doing the wrong thing, and there is no freedom without responsibility.
Dystopian is really “in” right now. Do you have any theories on why that might be so?
As a matter of fact, I do. The world can be a pretty grim place, and especially in America I think people are starting to wake up to just how bad things are becoming. Dystopias, for all their bleakness, give us hope that we can overcome and turn things around, even if it comes at great cost.
I completely agree. Those are actually the same exact things I’ve been thinking about the dystopian genre. What’s next for you as a writer? Any more Firmament books coming up? :)
Yes! I’m not sure when exactly, but Firmament book four will definitely be coming. It’s already written, but it’s still a very rough draft. And I’d sortof like to get the fifth one written before I publish more, so I’ll be working on that.
I’m looking forward to more Firmament, for sure. I can’t wait to read more about Andi. And I’m hoping for more Elasson. :) Thanks for visiting, Grace! I’m looking forward to helping you share Implant with the world!
Thank you for having me, and for your help! I can’t wait to hear how you like the book!
Recommended for: Ages 12 to Adult
Rating: PG-13 (violence and medical)
Wow. Just wow. Because I volunteered late with uncertain reading time, I wasn't sure I'd get the book done in time for this, but I ended up with plenty of time to read Wednesday and read the whole thing. In one day. I've come to expect no less than fantastic from Grace's books, and this certainly complied with that expectation. I finished it with the same awe and "I wish I could write like that" with which I finished Radialloy. Implant is amazing, and everyone should read it.
Have I said it in this post yet? Grace is an amazing writer. Her writing is concise and her descriptions concrete. Throughout the entire book, I could clearly see all the places and events in my mind. I could feel the emotion. I tensed during the action. I was shocked at the plot twists. I lived the story. I was there with Gordon experiencing it. Grace knows just the right words to use to pull in the reader. Just as I was in the Dead Mines with Travis Hamilton, just as I traveled in the Surveyor with Andi Lloyd, I was pulled to a future dystopia with Gordon Harding. Just perfect.
The entire thing is at least somewhat in the future. Gordon's home time period is not so different from now, and the future is a war torn nation. But it didn't feel cliche or anything. After all, Grace wrote the book before the dystopian craze really began. And there really aren't too many settings. Just the few places there needed to be. I'll talk about the medical aspect and the time travel in this section too. There's basically always something to do with medicine in Grace's books. Gordon's father was a doctor. His mentor back home is a doctor. In the future, Doc is obviously a doctor. And since it centers around medical implants, much of the story involves medical stuff. There is some futuristic medicine, but it all felt very realistic. I trust Grace to know what she's talking about in that area. :) The time travel also felt realistic. It wasn't your typical hop in a spaceship, go where you want to go (or where your TARDIS thinks you're most needed). Gordon is pulled through time, and it's a very calculated, not very certain, scientific experiment. It's not explained in detail, but it works well for the story.
Grace is a master at plot twists. And mysteries. And plots in general. Obviously, I can't give much away or it would ruin the book. But while it does have the same save-the-world as most dystopians, it's not the same save-the-world as the typical dystopian. Gordon is out of his time period. He doesn't really have a lot invested in saving it. But he's gradually convinced that he should do something. And the twist. I did not see it coming. I felt like I should have, but I didn't. I was able to guess a few things accurately once that twist was revealed, but before, I had no idea what would happen, or if they would even succeed. No more, because I don't want to give spoilers, and I know I will if I keep talking about it.
Character Development: 4.5/5
I would probably have liked to get to know the characters a little deeper, but that doesn't mean they weren't well drawn and unique. They certainly were. The story is just so fast paced there really isn't any downtime, is all. Gordon Harding is a high school graduate with a job working for a doctor, Baum, but he has severe anemia which turns out to be caused by leukemia. Not exactly the sort of guy you'd picture as an action hero. Combined with the fact that he doesn't know who to trust and sometimes makes stupid mistakes. But his mistakes are completely relatable ones, which I would probably also make in the same circumstances. And he hates oatmeal. Just a briefly mentioned fact, but it stuck with me because, well, so do I. Doc is...not what you'd expect from a doctor. He seems quite heartless and unfeeling, but he's hiding a secret which made him that way. He's not what you'd expect from a mentor, even though he does constantly push Gordon to be better. Then there's Neil Crater. He's a man with principles, and a man determined to save the world.
Implant is a roller coaster of emotions. It is an exciting adventure and a story with a message of freedom, and what it truly means. Just my kind of story, and whether it is yours or not, I think you'll enjoy Implant. It is a book you do not want to miss.
About the Author
J. Grace Pennington has been reading stories as long as she can remember, and writing them almost as long. She is also a prolific medical transcriptionist, amateur musician, chocolate eater, daughter, sister, friend, and laundry folder. She lives in Texas, and if she was part of the Implant society, her role in the rebellion would probably be monitoring current events and correspondence in the computer center.