Synthetica (Synthetica #1)
by Rachel Pattinson
Release Date: 04/01/15
Summary from Goodreads:
This city is falling.
Seventeen-year-old Anais Finch lives in a world where everyone is born beautiful, where every dream is a possibility – and where their every move and every piece of personal information is recorded by an ID picochip inserted behind their right ear. When technology giant, Civitas, finally announces the launch of their highly anticipated Scholarly Learning Programs, which allow people to download and learn any subject instantly, Anais can hardly wait.
But not everyone is pleased with society’s progress, and not everyone wants to fit in. When Anais witnesses a brutal murder on an innocent citizen and is implicated in the crime, she becomes determined to uncover the truth, especially when others like it begin to occur all over the city. But it may already be too late for Anais to stop the man who calls himself ‘the Hacker’ before he commits his most appalling crime yet…
She turned to the body of the attacker, who was still staring up at the sky. He, too, looked beyond help. Blood dribbled from his mouth, staining his clothes. But there was something else, something dark on the side of his neck. It didn’t look like blood, but before Anais could move to get a closer look, a scream ripped through the cool night air. She jumped and looked up to see a woman with white hair tied back in a severe ponytail and holding several glossy carrier bags, looking at her in horror. Anais glanced down and saw that the man’s blood was now splattered on her shirt – her jeans were rapidly becoming wet from where the dark puddle was spreading out from the man’s body. She jerked her head back up to look at the woman, who’s eyes were popping. The woman dropped her bags on the floor, and began backing down the walkway, her wide eyes still fixed on the bloody scene in front of her.
“W-wait,” Anais tried to call out, but her throat was suddenly dry, her heart beating far too fast. She could barely get the word out; but even as she spoke, the woman turned and fled back the way she had come.
“Wait,” Anais cried, her voice stronger. “Come back! I need your help!”
But it was too late. The woman had already gone. Anais looked round, panic rising in her gut, and for a brief, crazy moment she wondered if she should simply just run for it. The man in front of her gave a faint groan. She jumped, not expecting him to make a noise, and stared down at him, a fog descending over her brain as she panicked over what to do. It was a few seconds before she realised the man was still making a noise – he was trying to speak. She leant in closer, trying to catch his words, but his voice was now too faint, and he gave a nasty, gargling cough.
“What?” Anais said, her heart pounding as she leant in even closer, her ear almost brushing his dry lips. But he fell silent again, and Anais sat back up, trying to breathe evenly. If she stayed, she’d be implicated in the crime. If she left, the man would surely die – but she couldn’t call for the medics without it being traced back to her RetCom ID. She stared wildly round, praying for someone, anyone, to come and help her.
Luckily, at that moment, any decision-making was taken right out of her hands. Sirens wailed, cutting through the night air; and within seconds a small white medi-cab hummed round the corner towards her. There was a blinding flash, and Anais shielded her eyes with her hand, looking up at the source of the brilliant white light. There a low noise – a sound almost less than sound itself – a deep vibration that made Anais cringe to hear it. A police hovercraft descended from the sky above.
“Suspect,” boomed a loud automated voice, making the air shiver around her. “You are required to stand with your hands in the air. Drop your weapons. If you do not run, you will not be harmed. Suspect – you are required to stand -”
Anais stood up shakily, feeling her jeans sticking uncomfortably to her. She was encased in the blindingly white searchlight, unable to see the scene unfolding around her as she slowly raised her hands into the air.
About the Author
So what qualifies me to be a writer? Well, ever since an early age I’ve been more interested in the worlds in my head, than the real one – so I thought it was finally time to do something about it. I went to uni, got a degree in publishing, worked in an office for a while, decided I hated it, went to China, came back…and now I’m a teaching assistant by day and a YA writer by night. Phew! It’s been quite a journey, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.