Ever since reading The First 15 Lives of Harry August I fell in love with Claire North’s writing, the book was an absolute masterpiece. 84 K is a tiny bit short of a masterpiece but still an enthralling read.
It takes place within a dystopian future in England with the Government having teamed up with a seedy organisation known as “The Company”. Like George Orwell’s “Big Brother” from 1984, the Company control and see everything and if you don’t play along with their rules you will be worse off. As explained by a character from the novel
“Cos if you don’t play along with what the Company wants, you did. You die cos you can’t pay for the doctor to treat you. You die cos the police won’t come without insurance. Cos the fire brigade doesn’t cover your area, cos you can’t get a job, cos you can’t buy the food, cos the water stopped, cos there was no light and if that’s not slavery, if that’s not the world gone mad.”
The government has basically become a corporatised organisation. Everything now depends on money and if you don’t have any you’re basically f*****. In the middle of all this we have the main character Theo Miller, who might not actually be “Theo Miller”. Theo works as a Criminal Auditor and in this future if you have the money you can get away with any crime by paying a debt. Theo’s job involves him assessing each crime that is placed upon his desk and identifying the correct debt that is owed to society. However, everything changes for Theo when he bumps into his ex lover who is aware of his real identity. Seeing that her ex lover works within Criminal Audit Department has access to information, she comes to him for help finding her estranged daughter.
Everything however flips upside down as she is murdered in cold blood due to her own investigations and this audit case is brought to Theo’s desk, it’s therefore not an ordinary case for him. Theo is not a brave man but he decides to stand up for what is right and decides that he must take down the Company at any cost, even if it costs his own life. No longer will the richest people in the world step across their crimes, it’s time for action.
Overall I enjoyed the novel, it’s very dark and at some points very gruesome. I saw a lot of parallels between the book and the real world which I’ll be honest scares me to death. The purpose of this novel is not to leave happy and jolly, it’s to make you think what society has/could become. I always love a novel that makes me think about the world we live in and Claire North’s novels always open my mind. In terms of the world within this novel, it honestly really scared me because of how corporatised the world we live in is becoming. Over the years many companies have gained a lot of power and in some cases more powerful than actual countries.
In terms of the characters, we meet a wide range of different people but I liked the central character of Theo Miller, I thought he was a bit of a dick at first but he redeems himself.
When considering any issues with the novel I only had one. The writing was a bit confusing at times but not majorly, it was a great page turner and really eye opening. Claire North is a wonderful young writer, if you haven’t read any of her books especially The First 15 Lives of Harry August you’re really missing out.