Surrender is a dystopian novel reminiscent of many a book that came before: 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I don’t know when I’m going to learn my lesson. I really didn’t like any of those books. They are depressing and dark, and ultimately rather hopeless.
I’d like to tell you this is different…
I’d like to tell you that.
And I can’t.
We have our two unnamed (how original) protagonists. The wife and the husband. Their sons, whom they are very proud of, are away at war. They adopted a boy they go on to name Julio, who appeared out of nowhere one day and lives in their basement since the protagonists don’t want the zoning agent to find out. Eventually, the war creeps too close to home, and the zoning agent forces them to evacuate.
*cue doomsday music*
Anyway. This new city seems pretty great at first. It’s made of this cool new substance extracted from urine. You get to shower next to your neighbor in the morning because the walls are transparent. Intimate time with your significant other is spent that way too. Left or right, up or down, you can see everyone doing everything all the time because somehow the tyrannical government found a way to shut off the night. Surrender takes privacy loss to a whole new level.
This book is on the shorter side, but it didn’t take me any less time to read it. It was very slow and I had to push myself to read more pages knowing I just wanted to be done with it. It picked up for a little while at the end, then there was mass confuddledom and then it ended.
The moral of this story is: Life’s a bitch and then you die.
I sort of wish I hadn’t wasted time on it. It wasn’t badly written, but the tone of the book doesn’t seem to fit the occasional swear word that’s thrown in for seemingly no reason. (Coming from someone who has no filter on her own mouth, that’s a problem.) You’ll want to shake the MC at some point. Then you’ll want to shake his wife. And others.
There are some interesting notes here considering perspectives- things aren’t always what they seem, and yes, we wear blinders, and yes, government is full of propaganda meant to bend those perceptions. I liked those parts. The characters felt real enough, I just wished we hadn’t been so distanced from them given their lack of names and the wife’s weird personality shift in part three.
Anyway- I’d recommend this to people who liked those three books I named at the beginning. For my part I can say I actually did enjoy this more than those, just not enough to love this book.