Review: Manda Benson’s Pilgrennon’s Beacon

Pilgrennon's Beacon (Pilgrennon's Children)Pilgrennon’s Beacon by Manda Benson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pilgrennon’s Beacon is the bleak tale of an autistic child, whose disability was exploited before she was even born. Now Dana is trying to come to terms with the fact that her organic brain is meshed with a computer processor able to communicate with anything giving off a signal, from radio to Bluetooth. Afraid of being lobotomized by curious doctors she goes on the run, only to be kidnapped by a katana wielding sociopath claiming to be her biological mother, who presses her to help locate the mad scientist who stuck the thing in Dana’s head. But all is not as it seems.

Think Jonny Mnemonic crossed with the Railway Children and you’re a third of the way there. The main themes seems to be about ethics in science and about humanity losing what it means to be human, whilst machines become more sentient.

This is a well written, thought-provoking piece, with unexpected plot twists that sustain interest throughout the novel. The author has also thoughtfully included deleted scenes at the end for those who want to go a little deeper. The action scenes are a little rushed, but overall a very decent read.

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