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Book Review: Foe

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I kindly received this book from Simon and Schuster a few months ago and just got around to reading it in July, and now I'm kicking myself for not getting to it sooner! This is such a unique and well-crafted novel and one of my favourite reads of the year. Keep reading to hear my full thoughts! 
foe, book review, Iain Reid, thrillers, science fiction, books

Junior and Hen enjoy a happy, albeit quiet life on a farm outside of the city. But their peaceful existence is interrupted when a government agent shows up on their doorstep to notify Junior that he has been randomly selected to partake in a resettlement project on the “installation” (the first human dwelling on the moon). They promise him that Hen will be taken care of by someone very familiar to her.

The first science fiction thriller I read was Dark Matter and I absolutely loved it. It was unique, witty and engaging. But after reading Foe, I can easily say this surpassed Dark Matter as my new favourite in the genre. The story is remarkably told and the pacing is brilliant. I was completely engrossed from the first page and can happily say this is one of my favourite thrillers of the year.

It’s told in short, often abrupt bursts, and it perfectly reflects the isolation and confusion of the characters and atmosphere of the setting. It encases an array of emotions Hen and Junior must be facing, while still conveying the confusion and urgency of the situation. 

foe, book review, Iain Reid, thrillers, science fiction, books


While it is a science fiction novel, set ambiguously in the not so distant future, there is little world building involved, which is something I prefer in my science fiction—the closer to the truth, the eerier and immersive it is. The rural farm and mill provide minor context in both a confusing and enlightening way; it’s a throwback to more traditional lifestyles as well as the more complex government initiatives that are attempting to modernize society, for better or worse.

The novel questions the notion of government intervention and an individuals choice in the matter. Should the installation be a random draw? Should people have the autonomy to choose their own future? Should they have been able to opt out, or was this conscription method the only way to get a truly random selection to test the full effects of the new dwelling? It's an issue that is discussed throughout the novel, and while it focuses on the issues Hen and Junior are facing, it also seems to mirror the US governments intervention and the forcible removing of families, to a degree. 

The novel also focuses on consent and knowledge, in terms of what the characters are being told by the government, and the extent of that knowledge. There are many scences throughout the novel where both Hen and Junior seem out of the loop. Whether they're being told conflicting information or nothing at all, they are often unable to make informed decisions when faced with difficult issues. 

While I could talk about this novel for ages, it’s hard to discuss it without giving too much away. It’s incredibly unpredictable, alluring and engaging and I cannot recommend this book enough. There are so many twists and turns that it was almost impossible to put down. I like to believe I'm fairly good at predicting the ending in thrillers now, but I did not see this one coming and loved it! Even if you’re not a fan of science fiction, like myself, this book perfectly teeters the edge of thriller and science fiction in the most imaginative and unique way possible. I would highly recommend picking up this book when it is released on August 7! 

xoxo K