Chainge by Ken Dean
There have always been “haves” and “have nots” in any society.
“Chainge” by Ken Dean takes this concept to the extreme.
This book is thought provoking, intriguing, interesting and even horrifying at times. It is a truly great read.
Blair Huxley (Hux) works as a Server for the Collective’s Medical Rights Facilities. He has no say about what Progressive (city) he lives or works in and can be moved to a different location at any time without warning. He has no rights and cannot refuse. Servers are told that “You exist for the sake of and by the grace of Our State and the all-giving Provider.” Those who resist or try to escape are punished and can even be beaten or killed.
The story begins on a train. Hux is being moved to a new Progressive. He notices a particularly beautiful Server and when the Black Cat overseer notices his interest he beats Hux with a baton. “Contact is expressly forbidden. Desire is forbidden. It is not for Servers to partake of such wantonness.”
Arriving at his new home, Hux reflects on the Progs that the Servers exist to serve.
“The Progs… were free from discomfort, from worry, from work, from personal responsibility, free from accountability, free to lead a perfectly blissful existence. The Servers were free to give of themselves, free from self-interest and selfishness, free from the thoughts that complicated our lives prior to the evolution of Our State. We were free to serve others and see their rights fulfilled … That was what the Provider dictated as best, as fair, as right, as the common good.”
When Hux begins working at the new medical facility he sees things that make him start to question the system that rules his life. He begins asking questions and observing those around him.
He begins to realize that the Served are just as much slaves as the Servers; they just exist in a better looking cage.
He also meets Jules (the beautiful Server from the train) and he begins to have feelings for her. Feelings are not allowed and most Servers are incapable of emotion. But, to question the system is to commit treason.
Hux must decide if he has the inner strength necessary to escape from his life of servitude? And can he take Jules with him? Will she even want to go?
This novel is a riveting read with plenty of food for thought. This book crosses into multiple genres, including Dystopian fiction, science fiction and drama.
What I Liked About This Book:
I love that the author has fully imagined his world right down to the smallest detail. For example: Servers have the Delta logo tattooed on their hands with the delta pointing away from them to remind them that they are serving others, not themselves.
I also enjoyed the intelligent writing style. The author makes the assumption that his readers will be smart enough to understand what he is communicating without having to ‘dumb it down’. Too often I feel like authors think their readers are stupid and need to have every concept explained to them.
The author shows that he has a vast knowledge of brain washing techniques and ways in which large groups of people can be indoctrinated and controlled by a smaller group. For example, each morning after their mandatory exercise routine, the Servers must recite “The Server’s Creed.”
“Service is freedom! Service is our one true right! We are free from self-interest! We are free to serve!” The Servers should hate having to do this every day and they should want to rebel against their harsh treatment and substandard living conditions. Instead “we appreciated the Black Cats’ constant concern for our well-being, their taking the time to instill in us the reason why we serve, why we are so vital to the survival of Our State.”
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Hux’s internal struggle and was curious to learn more about the world in which he lives.
I also really liked the ending. It leaves open so many possibilities, but also could just be the end. It will be interesting to see where the author goes from here.
I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I would have rated this as a 5 star read if it had contained more of a backstory. We know that something has gone wrong with the world, but we never learn exactly what that was. We also have very little information about “The Provider” and how it is that he rose to power.
I look forward to reading more books by Ken Dean.
* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.*