Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Company Town by Madeline Ashby- Book Review

I just took a week to read and take a mini vacation. During that time, since Canada was gearing up for Canada Day, I decided to catch up on this year's Canada Reads selections. For those that do not know, each year the CBC hosts a reading contest in winter where 5 books are selected to become the book that all of Canada should read that year. They get guest celebrities to defend one of the 5 selections.

The year the books were:
Company Town by Madeline Ashby
Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
The Break by Katherena Vermette
Nostalgia by MG Vassanji

Even though I linked to the books on the US version of Amazon, they are much cheaper through Amazon.ca, but you will have to wait 3 weeks to get them or so.

Company Town was in second place this year, but I enjoyed it a tad more than this year's winner- Fifteen Dogs (although I am going to read it again to give it a second chance).

Company Town takes place in the near future off the coast of Newfoundland. Most people are augmented in some way or another, except our heroine Hwa. She has no augments and a small mole on her face, so face identifying augs have a hard time picking her up. She also happens to know Kung fu.

On the oil rig, which is the size of a town, Hwa lives with her mother who is a legal prostitute as a body guard. She is approached one day by a member of the Lynch family to help protect the youngest Lynch. He is in danger of being assassinated within a week's time. As Hwa leaves to protect the Lynch family, prostitutes start winding up murdered. Do the two connect to one another? (Hint: probably)

Company Town is one of those instances where the cover does not do the book justice. I don't know what the current cover, pictured above, says about the book, but Kung fu action murder mystery is not what it portrays. That is what is at the heart of this book. It was perfect for a summer on vacation type read.

The book moves very quickly and keeps up the pace. While it is not a perfect book in that at times it gets a little lost within its own narrative, it was just right for me. Hwa is a strong female protagonist who makes mistakes, owns them, and doesn't try to Rambo everything. While she is a one woman soldier, what gives her strength is also her greatest weakness.

The ending does start to fall a bit into a typical ending in that we can guess what will happen with Hwa about 1/2 way through the book, but that was fine with me. The people on Canada Reads critiqued it as a soap opera ending, but I would not agree with that statement. It is just pretty obvious where it is going.

I wound up loving this one. I still think I liked Nostalgia just a tad more.

I gave this one 4.5 stars. It isn't perfect, but it was a great summer read.

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