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Title: Cheating Time
Series: Longevity #1
Author: T.R. Graves
Publication date: December 1st 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Copy for review
Carles "Carlie" Enoche's world is one that can barely be imagined. In it, babies have micropharmeceutical devices inserted in their hearts within hours of birth. The MicroPharm implant holds code that secretly counts down until the date of that baby's death (as determined by its genetic analysis) and contains drugs that are released in such a way that chemicals and hormones are in perfect balance at all times, making illness almost unheard of.
Theoretically, the known but unexposed date of the babies' deaths and the maintenance drugs geared toward giving the baby a long life have benign consequences. It is the unknown and unbelievable and unexpected way President John Barone gathers data about every child and the way he releases contraceptives from the device in order to control the population and terminate pregnancies when embryos are identified as weak or mutated that makes the device and its technology as dangerous as any malignancy.
For President Barone, seventeen-year-old Carlie isn't just a MicroPharm first generation; she is the great-granddaughter of the man who discovered the ability to determine life expectancy down to the day and the daughter of the woman who invented the MicroPharm chip. Carlie and her family are important to President Barone's political career and the plans he has of creating a nation of strong, healthy, and superior people, who give more to their country than they take.
Jayden St. Romaine, one of the Facet's most loyal Surrogate Soldiers, is ordered by President Barone himself to find the Enoche family and kidnap Carlie. Through blackmail, he plans to leverage control over the Enoche's scientific research and the ability to develop even more tools that can be used to genetically engineer a superior race.
When President Barone sends Jayden on his mission, he never expected his perfect soldier to develop a conscience...betray his trust...fall in love with Carlie, but he's dispatched a backup Surrogate Soldier just in case. With the ticking of the clock and the second Surrogate chasing them, Jayden's chances at redemption and Carlie's chances of living a life where she is free to make choices about her life and her body are in jeopardy.
If you want a glimpse into what life might be like if a government had the ability to control population with a chip, then Cheating Time will give you that glimpse, and it's a scary one. For all of the good the MicroPharm chip can do, it also has dire consequences in the hands of the wrong people - people like President Barone who wants to use it to make the population younger, leaner, stronger, and smarter. Sound familiar?
Unlike Hitler, Barone is not concerned with race or religion, but he doesn't have a problem with terminating life if the fetus isn't genetically strong enough to suit his requirements. He's determined to use the MicroPharm chip to create a genetically enhanced population of people who give more to their government than they take. He's all about cutting costs at the expense of people's freedom.
In many ways the MicroPharm chip is positive and was designed by Carlie's mom to give people a longer, healthier, and happier life. I can see why it was created, and it would be great to have higher quality of life. But then of course there are also downsides to this chip, especially with the way President Barone is using it as forced population control without people's consent.
When something like this chip comes along, sometimes the bad outweighs the good. As much of a genius as Carlie's mother is, she didn't think too far ahead when she chose to have her own daughter implanted with her MicroPharm chip. By implanting the chip into her own daughter, she's given the President what he needs to blackmail her into doing whatever he wants.
My only issue with Cheating Time is that it takes a good first chunk of the book for Carlie to get to the barn after her mom wakes her up and tells her to go there. There's a lot of time spent where Carlie thinks about the multitude of feelings she has for Jayden - sometimes she hates him yet other times she's crushing on him. I wanted more action, but I also realize since this is the first book in a series, it's setting up for more action later.
Cheating Time illustrates how sometimes technology outpaces what we as a society are able to deal in terms of ethics and morality. I think this MicroPharm chip sounds like a good idea, but there are a lot of issues surrounding it as Graves as so eloquently woven into this novel.
T.R. Graves is the author of several new adult series. She lives in Texas with her husband and two children. Besides being blessed with a supportive family, T.R. counts her career as an administrator and registered nurse in not-for-profit hospitals among her most fulfilling accomplishments.
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