The Transhuman Project
Erin Rhew
Publication date: January 15th 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

When a video of Molly Richards is taken out of context and goes viral, she’s thrust into the upper echelons of social media stardom and becomes an overnight success in a country where Life Channel ratings reign supreme. As Kadar’s fastest rising celebrity, her life becomes a media circus, a show put on for the shallow national audience salivating for the next new thing.

But in a world where image is king, danger and death hide among the shadows. In the nearby country of Pacifica, the brutal Caezar turns his citizens into robotic weapons who infiltrate Kadar as sleeper transhumans. They walk among the populace, unaware they are pawns in the madman’s personal arsenal.

Only Molly, her friends, and an elite group of Kadarian fighters known as the Cyber Knights fully understand the transhuman threat, and only they can break the Caezar’s terrorist grip on both Pacifica and Kadar. Battling Fire Bots and humanoid agents, they seek to put a stop to the Caezar’s tyranny by unraveling the secrets buried between layers of deception.And they have to do it all while smiling and waving for the cameras.

As Molly and her friends peer behind the glitz and glamour, they discover something more frightening and more sinister than anything they’ve encountered yet…the truth.

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 My Take on The TransHuman Project

Molly and her friends, trapped in the neighbouring country of Kadar after escaping the prisons and research centres of their home country of Pacifica, find themselves the centre of a power struggle between, and within, the two nations. For Molly, this means being thrust into the spotlight as the new number one reality star of Kadar and having the public choose her life direction. That means becoming part of a forced love-story leading to marriage. Not only does she not love her new fiance, but she fears he may have been turned into a transhuman weapon by the Caezar of Pacifica. With the public oblivious and the powers plotting among themselves, it’s up to Molly and her friends to solve the transhuman puzzle and stop the loss of countless lives. But can they do it before the wedding?

At its heart, The Transhuman project is a collection of romance stories in a science fiction wrapper. Each character has their own ‘forbidden romance’ often created as a consequence of the harsh behaviour of their parental figures. Some of these play a crucial role in the plot and some do not. The theme of unforgiving parents is so common that it affects virtually all the main characters in the book and is intimately related to the national conflicts.

The setting is interesting being essentially a tale of two countries. Pacifica, ruled by the Caezar, feels like one huge prison with most people either incarcerated or living in underground bunkers. Kadar, instead, is a beautiful but intellectually empty country ruled by what appears to be a matriarchal oligarchy, where the majority of the citizens spend their time living vicariously through the lives of the few Life Channel superstars (who are largely selected by the governing committee).

To conclude, I don’t believe I’m the target audience for this story. For me, The TransHuman Project moved quite slowly for the first two-thirds, where it focussed mostly on the romance, and then picked up very nicely in the last third. So, if the romance is your preference then this is probably a good book for you. Most of the characters were consistent, but I thought they sometimes responded naively given the hardships they endured growing up. Probably my biggest issue, however, was that I felt like I missed the first book of the series. The one detailing the backstory of the countries and the how and why of the main characters’ lives. Yet I checked several times and this appears to be the only book in this world.

Overall, if you like a lot of romance with your science fiction then this book is probably for you.

Author Bio:

Erin Rhew is an editor, the operations manager for a small press, and a YA fantasy and sci-fi author. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”

A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin spent years in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest before returning to her roots in the land of hushpuppies, sweet tea, and pig pickin’. She’s married to fellow author, the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) Deek Rhew, and spends her time writing side-by-side with him under the watchful eye of their patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. Erin and Deek enjoy taking long walks, drinking coffee, lifting, boxing, eating pizza, staying up late into the night talking, and adventuring together.

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