Review Blog

Feb 05 2017

The fail safe by Jack Heath

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Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781925266078
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Spies, Future, Dystopian fiction.The next thrilling adventure after Cut out, The fail safe has Fero in a bind. He has remembered just who he is, but must keep this knowledge hidden from the two people posing as his parents, lest they kill him. Some memories of his real life come back awkwardly, others are triggered by something happening. When the TV news shows one of his friends being killed over the wall he knows he must act. And escape.
With CCTV everywhere, and monitors focussing on him, face recognition software is hard to trip up, so he plans his escape meticulously. He triggers a fire in the tube station, sure to result in pandemonium, but it only takes seconds for the scanner to pick up that he has gone. A cat and mouse search ensues with some people directed to search for him. But he follows a woman he sees acting suspiciously and is taken to be a spy, but in doing as she directs, is recaptured. Still trying to behave innocently he convinces them that he is still Fero and the exciting game continues.
Set against two neighbouring countries somewhere between Russia and the Ukraine, the tension is palpable as the conflict between theme escalates, resulting in a wall being built between them. Fero hears harsh words said against his country but with a nuclear option being readied by both sides, he must make a decision.
Boys in particular will enjoy this thriller being played out by Fero (Troy) trying to evade capture and having to prove his innocence to those back home who see him as a traitor. Action packed, fast paced and thrillingly written make this a treat for reluctant readers.
Fran Knight

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