Goodreads: The Dark Intercept
Series: The Dark Intercept #1
Source: City Book Review
Published: October 31, 2017
Violet Crowley is the daughter of the president of New Earth, a utopian society built in the skies of Old Earth. The peace is kept by the Intercept, a computer program that tracks everyone’s emotions and can weaponize them if necessary, stopping crime before it’s committed. As Rebels arise questioning the Intercept, however, Violet must determine whether she believes safety is worth the intrusion on her emotions.
I’ve been stumbling across various YA dystopian novels lately that are being quietly marketed as general science fiction than as specifically dystopians; The Dark Intercept is one of them. While I don’t think publishers need to stop releasing dystopians, I do think authors need to do a lot more to make their stories stand out in the wake of The Hunger Games fad, and The Dark Intercept simply fails to offer anything new. The book is fine, particularly for younger readers who may have missed the original dystopian craze, but personally I was bored.
I don’t like “emotions dystopians” in the first place because it seems pretty far-fetched to me that the government would have a real interest in controlling things like love. In The Dark Intercept, readers are faced with a world where the government has determined that they can control people through emotional memories. Basically, if someone looks like they might commit a violent crime, you initiate a bad memory and Boom! they’re on the ground sobbing, incapacitated. No crime is committed, and the police don’t need to deal with things like guns themselves.
This whole premise seems unlikely to me, but, okay, I guess. My bigger issue is that, although I agree having the government track your emotions is invasive, the stakes seem so much lower here than in other dystopian novels. You see, the government doesn’t actually do anything with your emotions unless you are actively committing a crime. Legally, no one is allowed to look at your file, and it seems no one does. Yes, I would still push back against this system because it has the potential to be abused by the government in the future, but in the heat of the moment of the book itself, things don’t seem “too” bad.
The characters that inhabit this world are well-developed, ranging from the president of New Earth to the Chief of Police to the rebels and various Intercept employees. Violent, as a protagonist, is curious and smart, though honestly I thought a lot of the plot read as her being overly nosy and naïve. Her love interest seems to have a fascinating life, but he doesn’t interact with Violet all that much in the book, so the romance isn’t really a selling point.
I did really appreciate that the book seems to have just about wrapped everything up because standalone dystopian novels in the YA market are rare. However, this is apparently supposed to be a series anyway. I have no idea where it will be going from here and, frankly, don’t personally care. This book is fine but just not a stand out in any way.