Blame is a high concept dystopian novel set in a version of the UK where the idea of 'heritage crimes' has taken hold. Heritage crimes are crimes committed by your parents or grandparents that have gone unpunished due to their deaths or disappearances leaving you to serve their time. Ant and her little brother Mattie are siblings stuck in a family prison with their foster parents, all serving time for the crimes of their parents. These non criminals are kept in a separate, but connected prison from those serving time for their own crimes, but with tensions brewing across the London prisons Ant and Mattie realise they might have a chance to break out.
This is an intense and thrilling novel, which carefully sets up the dystopian premise and then causes a riot for all hell to break lose. The relationship between Ant and Mattie is beautifully written, with their Haitian heritage shown through the little bits of creole language they speak to each other. The pace really picks up about half way through, just as you were getting comfortable in the prison setting, lurching you out on the run.
The media elements were used in a really interesting way, with televised propaganda depicting the heritage crime inmates as deserving of their treatment, brainwashing the public into agreeing with the inhuman practice. This was definitely reminiscent of The Hunger Games for me. The drones used for surveillance and spying were an all too familiar concept too. The 'strap' heritage crime inmates must wear creates a heavy, uncomfortable physical burden and mark on the person to accompany the mental burden they must endure too.
A powerful, face paced, thriller with an incredibly fierce, loyal, and moral protagonist.
I received a review copy of Blame from Penguin Random House in return for an honest review.