Last year’s Robopocalypse was an AB4T 2011 Best of the Year and a 2011 Alex Award winner. With Amped, Daniel H. Wilson has created another dystopian world and another thriller that will have readers racing through the pages.
Part of the marketing for the novel includes a blog on Facebook — Samantha Blex is a teenager whose parents persuaded her to get a Neural Autofocus Implant when she was only 7. Here she writes about the consequences of being an amp, which are getting steadily worse. Her story leads directly to the beginning of the novel. If Doubleday is looking for teen readers, this is a clever strategy.
Adult/High School–Amped touches on similar themes found in Wilson’s successful novel Robopocalypse, and will appeal to the same audience of teen readers. Advancements in medical technology mean that common conditions and accidents can be compensated for as easily as vaccines prevent disease today. Born in poverty or exhibiting a learning disability? A brain implant–identified by a temporal nub–boosts mental acuity. Damaged limbs are replaced by robotic prostheses. Soon implanted individuals, or “amps,” are outperforming unenhanced humans both intellectually and physically. Senator Joseph Vaughn begins a campaign of prejudice declaring that amps don’t deserve equal rights because they take away jobs from “real” humans. Meanwhile, 29-year-old Owen thought he had a medical implant to control seizures and is shocked to discover that his military-grade version makes him a Zenith, the most powerful soldier ever developed in a secret government program. He travels to small-town Oklahoma in search of answers, just as tensions between amps and humans boil over and rumblings of an insurgent amp uprising begin. Precisely choreographed action scenes bring the danger Owen faces to a pulse-tripping reality. Teens will respond to the socially conscious narrative of an everyman who finds himself at the center of chaos. Wilson’s vision of the consequences of unharnessed technology combined with politics and the desire for power will also resonate with readers. Those intrigued by Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Holt, 2008) will appreciate exploring what it means to be human in the brutal future depicted here.–Priscille Dando, Robert E. Lee High School, Fairfax County, VA