Review – On by Jon Puckridge

I must admit that I hate when a novel is noted as a “cross between” two things, particularly where it claims more famous cousins. In the case of On by Jon Puckridge it was the works of William Gibson, and the movie Bladerunner. My healthy suspicion about such comparisons was well-founded as I discovered.

Oh it began well enough, with a certain Gibson-esque atmosphere to this dystopian future, but it soon deteriorated. There are hints at some of Max Barry’s ideas around corporatisation and commodification of everything in the future. I was also reminded of Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk books – before he began writing encyclopedia-sized tomes.

I found this book downright confusing as all hell. There are constant switches in viewpoint, and almost all of them are told in first person. I concluded that about the only thing  people were ‘On’ by the end of it was a boatload of drugs. As soon as I had begun to get a grasp on what was going on, Puckridge was off on another tangent to parts unknown.

I finished the book, but only just. I genuinely felt that I came away not knowing what the hell I just read. It was like a melting pot of recycled plots and ideas from Cyberpunk and Science Fiction novels and movies from the past 30 odd years. And I just didn’t care.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I can’t recommend this novel. Interesting ideas, with confusing and poor execution.

2/5 stars.

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