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Company Town by [Ashby, Madeline]
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Company Town Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Kindle Edition, 17 May 2016
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Length: 288 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

2017 Canada Reads Finalist
2017 Locus Award Finalist for Science Fiction Novel Category

Madeline Ashby's Company Town is a brilliant, twisted mystery, as one woman must evaluate saving the people of a town that can't be saved, or saving herself.

"Elegant, cruel, and brutally perfect, Company Town is a prize of a novel." —Mira Grant, New York Times Bestselling and Hugo-Award nominated author of the Newsflesh series


New Arcadia is a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd.

Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she's the last truly organic person left on the rig—making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defense and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?

Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city's stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa's front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to be—but now, the danger is personal.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1543 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (17 May 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0176PDIHS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126,894 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Format: Kindle Edition
Company Town is a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, owned by the wealthy and powerful Lynch family empire. Like all cities, its populace exist in a multitude of social and economic strata. In a world where bioengineered enhancements are commonplace and expected, the rebellious Hwa is the last fully-organic holdout; for which she has compensated by becoming an expert in fighting and bodyguarding — a way to maintain her fierce but precarious independence. Then the Lynch CEO and patriarch hires her to protect his young son, the heir, from mysterious death threats.

I started reading this book, and was engrossed in it, when I began to get an increasingly intense sense of déjà vu – culminating, at the end of the second chapter, in the realization that I had indeed read some of it before, as the story “Come From Away” in the anthology Upgraded, edited by Neil Clarke. Which got me really enthused, because it was one of my Short Story nominees for the 2015 Hugos. I enjoyed the mystery combined with the depiction of a cybernetic future world, and I would definitely be interested in reading more adventures with this protagonist.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 71 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Characters & a Fresh Viewpoint, Hurt by a Rushed Climax 20 July 2016
By A. Loumos - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
An interesting and complex future world is built out on the ocean rigs of Company Town, following a protagonist that exists almost entirely outside what the book's society might deem as the norm. Outsiders often bring a lens to events that others can't see through and the story follows that smoothly as some seemingly-unrelated events begin to coalesce in the narrative, but while the mystery starts to take form, it's the resolution that left me wanting.

When the ending begins to form at an accelerated pace relative to the rest of the novel, it feels almost like I'd engaged in a sprint to the end. Some prior plot points dropped entirely, while others seem to happen for the sake of consistency and to avoid any break for the protagonist to overcome a series of failures, it left me on a slightly sour note, as I'd been hoping for a little more depth or fallout when I realized there were barely 20 pages left.

An interesting read, but one that left me wishing I knew a little more about where it all went at the end.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In which the disenfranchised save the white knight and the selfish are lost. 15 July 2016
By JTF - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Company Town is set in the future on an oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland which makes the rig itself a company town. It feels very much like a novel of the gold rush days but with futuristic ability to augment and modify the human body. It is owned by the powerful Lynch family who purchased it after a disastrous fire that took the lives of a third of the town. It is a working man’s platform and, so, there is a cadre of sex workers (unionized, of course) who live there and have a number of protectors including our hero, Hwa. In the midst of her duties, she is pulled into a series of murders of her sex worker friends, the Lynch family and man’s constant desire for eternal life

While the premise, as I’ve laid it out, seems “normal” and prosaic, Ms. Ashby makes it anything but. Hwa is a phenomenon in herself. While most of her upbringing has done its utmost to teach her not to value herself, she has pushed back and will suffer no fools. While she doesn’t see her own value as she might, she is no doormat. Yes, as part of her job, she kicks butt and asks questions later, but it is her ability to put the puzzle together, to think through the challenges put before her that set her apart. Her relationships between her family (in the form of a prostitute mother and a dead brother), her employers (both the sex union and the Lynches) and her “under-world friends" are rich, varied and multi-dimensional. The augmented bodies around her make for a difficult world to navigate as one who still has pure and natural biology.

One of the processes that fascinates me is to see an already really good writer become an even better writer. I believe that’s happened here with Ms. Ashby’s writing. So what makes it better? It’s more accessible and draws us into caring more about the characters and relationships while remaining edgy and holding no punches. How is this magic achieved? At least for me, I found myself more able to empathize with Hwa than I ever did with Amy, Charlotte or even Javier in her previous Machine Dynasty duology (vN and iD). While her characters there were rich and fascinating, they were different enough, both in capabilities and outlook, that I couldn’t empathize with them.

My life has been considerably different than Hwa’s. First, I had parents who in many different ways and forms made it quite clear to me that I was unconditionally loved. There are a few more freeing gifts than this. Second, I had a relatively comfortable middle-class life. Yet we all feel those moments of exclusion, where we feel substantially different from and, somehow, less than those around us. All, while not to her same degree, have suffered loss. Merely because she bears the stares with an insouciant shrug makes them no less painful. We take heart in seeing her network of friends. We sense the steel in our own spine stiffen when she makes clear that she suffers no fools. So while there are many differences, including physical and intellectual talents, well beyond our own among them, Hwa is someone with whom we may empathize.

Another mark of Company Town is that a mutually caring relationship takes center stage. The relationships were at best awkward, sometimes antagonistic while always complex in the Machine Dynasty duology; while the relationships between Daniel Siofra and Go Jung-hwa or Hwa and Joel are different types, they are both mutual caring relationships while remaining complex. Javier relationships with Charlotte and Amy were all too strange. While that strangeness added to the novels but distanced us from the charachters, here, we more naturally care even in the midst of the strangeness

Our vision of the world is all too often upended in both good and difficult ways. So too in the Lynches’ New Arcardia.. The “white knight” proves to be the one in need (bought that t-shirt). The broken one proves to heal many and the man in control finds his reign illusory. It’s a masterful bit of writing that pulls that off without feeling artificial and manipulative. While I know some may disagree, I love the ending; it brings things together in a beautiful but possible way without ignoring the realties that we never have a perfect world when we’re done. So is justice fully achieved? No. While we may long for “… justice [to] roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24 ESV), it will not, on this side of the grave; Company Town reflects that fallen state oh so accurately.

So, what do I love about Company Town?
•Hwa – her tenacious character who cannot fail to help others
•This world of augmentation and biological adoptions and their social implications
•The complex, multi-dimensional relationships and interactions.
•The riveting, quick-paced yet thoughtful narrative

I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like about the book; even the depiction of the seedier side of New Arcadia was intriguing.

I highly commend Company Town to you reading pleasure.

Phrasing: 3.5/5

World Building: 4.5/5

Character: 4.5/5

Narrative: 4.5/5
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The punch connects but doesn't quite follow through 9 March 2017
By Jeff Forcier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Get it? Because the protagonist is a martial artist? I slay myself.

This was a decent enough read: the writing style, dialogue, sense of place, action, pacing, characterization are all decent to good. Many excellently subtle pop culture references; the kind that you're not even sure they _are_ references half the time. A nice counter to books that bludgeon you to death with blunt nostalgia (hi Ready Player One.)

The world building is uneven; some good chewy cyberpunk for sure, but also some odd bits that just feel thrown in for good measure. Plus many unexplained aspects, some of which are unfortunately core to the story. Why is there an entire actual city around an oil rig? And why does a setting with nanotechnology and strong AI and robotics need humans doing manual labor? Etc.

Endings are hard but the one here feels pretty rushed and it's a detriment. What is probably intended as a standard plot twist just comes off as pointless or bewildering. Might've worked better if some characters were easier to keep track of.

All that said I definitely do not regret my purchase or time and would recommend this to someone seeking new cyberpunk or even just urban action/drama with a well written/realized female protagonist.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Choice had little to do with it. Money was the thing. When you had no money, you had no choice." 29 March 2017
By Cheryl Stout - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Go Jung-hwa known as Hwa is a card carrying, dues paying member of the United Sex Workers of Canada union. Her mother is one of the sex workers but Hwa is a bodyguard for the workers, doing what's needed to keep them safe.

She lives in the tower city of New Arcadia built on an oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The city (and rig) have just been bought out by the Lynch Corporation, a privately owned family run business that ends up hiring Hwa to protect the 15 year-old heir apparent to the corporation and all that entails.

One reason they wanted to hire Hwa is that she has not been technically enhanced and therefore isn't fully visible to most people and cameras. She has Sturge-Weber syndrome, a rare disorder that causes neurological and skin problems. In her case she has a large port-wine birthmark on her face and body and also has epileptic seizures. She had never had the money needed to correct her medical problems.

I can't truly express just how much I enjoyed this story. I was drawn into this future world from the first page and am still thinking about it after I finished the story.

Author Ashby had done a superlative job in world building, making the details of the story fully believable. And the characters...Hwa, her boss Daniel Síofra, and her young charge Joel Lynch - all are are fully realized characters that I'd love to meet in real life.

The story reminded me in some aspects of THE UGLIES series by Scott Westerfeld and THE WINDUP GIRL by Paolo Bacigalupi, both tales of the highest caliber of possible futures we might be headed towards. But COMPANY TOWN holds its own against all the competition. And, yes, it is that good.

I bought this book on a whim and I am so glad I did. It's one of those perfect stories that is going to make reading my next book difficult because you very rarely come across a story as good as this.
5.0 out of 5 stars A most addictive read! 23 January 2017
By Basia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My goodness, where do I BEGIN with THIS precious little find?! I can honestly say that I picked up this book mostly because I presumed--how wrong I was!--that this would be a short, quick, simple read. And then it started to become crystal clear that this is instead a pretty sophisticated tale, one with so many wonderful levels to the story!

At its heart, I guess it's a sci fi/Steampunk mystery, and holy s@?#!, it's a good one! But it's so far from the average one we might pick up these days. Hwa, the protagonist, is BRILLIANT! She's tough, strong, damaged, imperfect, and doesn't care whether you judge her. Joel is another great character. I enjoyed their interactions with each other, and with Daniel, and the sex workers.

The mystery is a compelling one, as is the setting. I recommended this with all my heart. However, I do urge you to clear your schedule first. I am still reeling from the book.

Oh, what a great book this was!

I want to note that I read half of the book on my Kindle, but the other half I listened to. It took me a chapter or so to get used to the woman who narrated, but once I did, I enjoyed how she made it all come to life.