* * * * * * * 7 / 10
The story focuses on Corim and takes us through his childhood, from schooling to meeting his first love, marriage and having a child of his own. It’s through Corim’s life we learn of the society he lives in.
Corim belongs to the General Order, which means he will live for 37 years. He will have one of two jobs, a system architect, or a sex worker. Becoming a sex worker is seen as the better choice, being higher paid and bringing benefits such as colourful clothes and jewellery. Prostitution is celebrated, an enviable job because it allows for a slightly better way of living.
Of course there are the other Orders, allowed to live longer, have more career choices and wear more clothes, own more belongings. The higher the order, the greater the luxury.
There is no way to move up in the orders. The only career choices are those available within the order, which gives the illusion of social mobility to those who live in this world.
The story starts very strongly, but as it comes to the end I get the impression the author didn’t quite know how to finish it. Part of the problem is that there are two stories here, one of the dystopian society and the other of Corim. The society needed more telling than Corim could give it.
I’d be far happier with two or more books. Corim’s story is important enough that it can stand as part of a series, of how the cruelties of that society has effected its citizens on a personal level, while the creation and downfall of the class system can be dealt with by new characters.