Series: Collective Underground
13 Oct. 2020
Paperback / softback
Winner of the 2021 Realm Makers Award for Best Science Fiction and Book Of The Year. Winner of the Caleb Award 2021.
The Love Collective is the basis for a Utopian society – and Kerr Flick’s greatest dream is to be a Love Collective Elite. Raised from birth communally in the Nursery, children like Flick are trained to place the Love Collective before friendships, family, and themselves.
People who are disloyal to the Collective – who don’t fit into their idealised society – are labelled “Haters”. Haters are put on the Hater Pavilion Show – contestants are voted on and forced to compete in deadly games televised nightly to the whole nation.
Flick sets her sights on the position of Watcher: the Elite of the Elite, high up in the Love Collective. But it’s a position shrouded in mystery, and no matter what she tries, she can’t figure out what exactly they do.
When she’s asked by the Supreme Leader to betray her friend during her final exams, she can’t do it. She names herself as a Hater – saving her friend, and in the process not only destroying any chance she has of being a Watcher but condemning herself to Hater prison.
But she isn’t taken to Hater prison. Instead, she’s inducted into a rebellious movement, and learns the truth: the Love Collective kills Haters and steals their children. These children are raised to be soldiers, unquestioningly loyal to the cause and ready to die for their superiors.
Now she has a choice: trust in the Love Collective, as she has all her life, or fully regain the memories of her forgotten past. A comfortable lie, or a painful truth?
A dystopia for the modern age, this book examines the ways that totalitarian regimes can seed distrust and misinformation while proclaiming unity and love. The parallels to cults of personality, techniques like love-bombing, and the extreme isolation and suspicion the characters feel in such an interconnected world, are a stark reminder of the importance of true, solid human connection in our own lives. A thought-provoking, enjoyable read.