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Death Stalks Kettle Street
John Bowen

Grey, dark and atmospheric.

Slave - Laura Frances

I was thrilled to win a free copy of this as an audiobook, even though it was a little outside my normal comfort zone.
Although I quite often read Young Adult novels, I usually tend to shy away from Science Fiction and Dystopian.

The young heroine, Hannah, is trained to obey orders without question and never to look a Watcher in the eye. Her parents are dead and she lives alone in a Unit, with only her elderly neighbours, Norma and Albert, for company.
Norma always assures her that there's more than one side to any story, but Hannah is angry and remains unconvinced.

When revolution turns her life upside down, Hannah is a reluctant heroine, but she also learns what her friend Norma had meant and that not all Watchers are the evil men they appeared to be. In fact, they were as much slaves as her.

The ending let the book down a bit, a bit too convenient., but I can't say too much for fear of spoilers. Some interesting explanations regarding the identity of the Slaves and plenty of opening for the next book in the series.

What struck me, as I was listening to the narrator describing the lives of these workers, who lived only to serve the Council and who were constantly observed by the Watchers, was how much like North Korea this sounded. And as events unfolded, there seemed to be more and more similarities.

The narration by Stacey Glemboski was clear and atmospheric, just sometimes, a bit too breathless in the less exciting passages. She didn't fall into the trap of periodically lowering her voice, which can make audios so frustrating to listen to in background noise.

Although this was a free review copy of the audiobook, my review is completely unbiased.