I enjoyed this book on many levels. Firstly I like murder mysteries, they are puzzles I like to think about when I'm not reading. I don't mind the ethical questions posed throughout the story. They make for great topics for discussions with friends and family. This story is easy to read as the writing style flows along . There wasn't any time where I thought, hang on a minute that can't be right.... Even up to the end when the reveal was taking place there were a number of characters that could have been guilty. I have no problem recommending this book as I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I read this book in a day. I couldn't put it down.
For me, good spec-fic is all about examining human nature through the lenses of an alternate reality, allowing us to throw certain aspects of ourselves into sharp, sometimes unflattering focus. And this, right here, is spec-fic at its best.
'The Subjugate' is human oriented near future soft sci-fi that takes a look at where we are probably heading with our society as a whole, as well as narrowing down into a few key areas. Can extremely violent/sadistic/sexual criminals be reformed? If they could be reformed, would the ends justify the means- or would that depend on the means? Where is religion's place in our future, as compared to now? What place will technology have in our everyday lives, and where will we draw the line as to how deeply we want technology to be integrated into our lives? Into ourselves?? How will society function when different people choose to draw that line in different places?
Set perhaps 80 or so years in the future, 'The Subjugate' explores these questions by following two detectives as they investigate a case of murder in a religious, tech-free town outside of the city, a town that lives symbiotically with the Solme complex next door. The Solme complex rehabilitates violent criminals using technology and other means, and then cautiously allows them back into society. It doesn't take much probing before the town's secrets start to reveal themselves. Soon our detectives have suspect after suspect to deal with - as well as dealing with problems of their own, for this case wakes up personal demons buried shallowly in their pasts.
There are many things to love about this book, but there are two aspects that I really appreciated for personal reasons. First off, I loved the way that Salvi's personal issues with Christianity were dealt with. It was very real. I'm married to a man who was raised a strict Catholic (he is now atheist) and I saw many parallels between Salvi and my husband - Salvi is struggling with bitterness and anger at the system that I'm sure many who have stepped away from religion must struggle with. At least, my husband certainly still does.
And... oh this is hard to write about without spoilers but I'll try... The second aspect of this book that I really appreciated was that consent was clear. There were character based reasons that mean that it would have been so easy for Bridgeman to write one of those scenes that I see all too often where consent is foggy. I'm sure you know what I mean. A 'foggy' consent scene is where there is a 'you know you want it, really' type of forced kiss that leads to more as the female thaws and then melts, or something similar, but Bridgeman avoided that path and instead wrote a scene with clear consent and I LOVE THAT because, as you can probably tell, I don't like foggy consent scenes. I really feel like they are something that we need to move beyond for obvious reasons, and Bridgeman has shown, without a doubt, that you can create a scene with tension, and emotional difficulty, and self doubt, and raw power, without straying into the land of foggy consent. So thank you for that - it was very, very well written and satisfying for so many reasons.
So perhaps if you are a deeply religious person this book might not be for you. But for everyone else, I would urge you to pick it up. You won't be disappointed.
I'll start off by saying I'm primarily are hard/high tech sci-fi reader, so this book is a little different to what I'd normally read. I picked it up on the strength of the author's "Aurora" series, and man, I am so glad I did!
The story is a near-future, stylish Who-Done-It. Think of Law & Order: SVU, combined with Bladerunner, combined with Anne of Green Gables, and you're somewhere in the vicinity of this novel.
Bridgeman cleverly moves the reader through very different locations: the dank, "New Tokyo" styling of cyberpunk big city, the tranquility of a religious community straight out of The Sound of Music, and a daunting high-tech prison, where the "Subjugates" of the title, and the "Serenes" are … trained? For want of a better term.
Like Bridgeman's other works, this is a character-driven story, in which the tech element of the sci-fi is well and truly present, but doesn't distract from the beautifully crafted conversations between the main characters. More than once I found myself smiling at the exchanges between characters, and how unforced and natural the conversations felt. There's plenty of quality writing here, and the baggage carried by the leads only adds to the material on which the author can build.
There are PLENTY of red herrings up for offer throughout the story … more than once I thought I'd figured out the culprit, only to have my reasonings expertly mirrored and then picked apart by the lead characters themselves, leaving me back at square one.
The final scenes are absolute page-turners, the type you relish and look forward to going back and reading more leisurely at a later date, when you aren't feeling like you're charging toward a shock conclusion.
Perhaps the biggest recommendation comes from finishing the book, and wanting more … more of these characters, doing what they do. As a reader, I can only hope the author has future adventures lined up for the leads!
Such a good read, a bit of sci fi, a lot of action and suspense. The Subjugate was full of twists from the beginning to the end. I read a lot and find most of the time I guess the ending before I get there but this book kept me hanging till the end. Great read for anyone it gets you engaged with the story and the characters from the beginning. Enough Sci Fi to give the story a good twist from your everyday suspense but not enough to put you of if you’re not into Sci Fi. Looking forward to reading more from Amanda Bridgeman and I really enjoy her style.
Not my normal genre, but an enjoyable read none the less. Started a little slow, but picks up and becomes a good ride to the end. A little bit predictable, but that is my opinion about most crime thrillers anyway, so don’t let that put you off if this is the genre you like. I am a sci-fi fan, and though it takes place in the near future with some sci-fi elements it is more of a comment about human character/psychology.