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Hey guys, how are you?
It’s pouring rain here in England so it’s a bit of an up and down week, feeling-wise.
Today, I’m reviewing Monkey Man, a Cyberpunk style novel set in a gritty American city known only as The Zone.
With scientific engineering preventing global warming, global cooling soon takes over. When a blizzard is set to roll into The Zone, a young soon to be divorcee, Dolores shows up looking for help from Danny Java, an ex military agent. Together, Java and his band of misfit ex soldiers attempt to help Dolores recover her stolen credits, but a hidden enemy soon raises their head.
The pursuit of pleasure is a primary focus in the story. Whether through ethanol, various drugs, or sexual relations, pleasure is a core goal of daily life in The Zone. On one side of the city live the rich with their fancy hotels and well to do manners. On the other side, people freeze to death in the snow, having overdosed on a cocktail of chemicals.
The setting almost felt like a character in its own right. The author describes The Zone as a ‘combination of 1940s New York meets 1950s Moscow,’ with a ‘frigid grey climate.’ It doesn’t sound like a great place to be, regardless of your social status.
Besides the gritty setting, there are four main characters I’d like to briefly discuss: Danny ‘Java,’ Wally ‘Mooner,’ Julie, and Dolores. The first three are a team of ex military special agents, trained from childhood by the government at The Androy Orphanage in The Zone.
Java is a tough, no nonsense behemoth of a man. He is instinct driven and struggles to connect with his emotions, but is an incredible force to be reckoned with, often getting into violent fights.
Mooner is a cocky man, often quick with a joke during serious situations. He’s highly flirtatious, a real pleasure seeker if ever there was one. However, he is also loyal to a fault.
Julie is a highly sensual woman that can kick more ass than any female character I’ve come across. She hides her emotions well (much like Java), but also regularly makes use of her secondary talents in order to serve her physical needs.
Dolores Manning is your typical femme fatale type at first glance, ‘used to getting her own way, especially with men.’ Dolores likes to be in control of things, otherwise she loses herself, much like a little girl playing at being an adult.
Of these four main characters, my favourite was Java, for I could never predict his next move, no matter how hard I tried. he was fun to read about, a mysterious character beyond measure.
The author’s style is very matter of fact and at many times, crude. Sex is rife in The Zone and there is no shying away from this in the book.
The story is told in three parts, with the third part finally introducing us to the main antagonists. The perspectives throughout vary between the four main characters previously mentioned. Sometimes, it’s in third person personal and at other times, third person omniscient.
The dialogue is sharp, cutting, and to the point but what I loved most was the range of personalities explored in this book and how each interacted with the others. While some got along well, others were constantly at odds, creating amazing amounts of character driven conflict.
Just one. Around the middle of the story, it seemed to drag. Perhaps this was done to give the effect of depression as the blizzard arrives at full force and the team are sleeping through it. However, I wasn’t sure and I did find it difficult to proceed through this section.
There’s one quote which really stood out to me, as far as our real world goes, and it’s this:
‘We all live in The Zone, but it’s all still pretty tribal- whatever keeps us fighting amongst ourselves, I guess.’
With the amount of political polarization going on in the Western world at the moment, it’s clear that many people are fed up. Tactics used by others to keep people fighting have been used for millennia and they’re not helping us one bit.
This is how a government controls its people, by dividing them, making them think they are choosing their own path when they are really being guided by corrupt individuals with an agenda. People turn against their fellow man because they’re taught you either support one side or the other. If we stopped doing this, I think the entire human race would be much happier.
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