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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Toys

Title: Toys  
Author: James Patterson with Neil McMahon
 Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: 
 March 14, 2011
Reviewer: Ethan

Review: James Patterson thrusts readers to the distant future in his novel, Toys. The year is 2061. Hays Baker is an Elite, a kind of enhanced superhuman, genetically and mechanically engineered to be a superior being of the world. We learn that Elites are the ruling class of society, controlling all government, medicine, and commerce. While humans still exist, they are left to fill the service rolls of society (waste collection, janitorial jobs, etc.) and live in the poverty stricken outskirts of the new cities, which have replaced the big cities of old.

Hays, along with his wife Lizbeth, is a senior agent for the Agency of Change. After the success of an important mission, they are called to meet with the President, and Elite named Hughes Jacklin. During this meeting, they are tasked with assisting in the most important mission of their career... destroying the human race! 

On their ride home, the couple is attacked by a band of misfit humans. Narrowly escaping the humans, Hays plans to relax with his wife and two young daughters, but he is instead called to the popular Toyz store where a gruesome murder has taken place. While chasing a human suspect, Hays suffers a near fatal fall on the job and learns that he is not who he thinks he is. Suddenly shunned by every person he knows, Hays is forced to rediscover his identity and decide who to trust before the world changes forever. 

The quality of Patterson's recent novels and the fact that he employs a co-author (Niel McMahon assists with this one) has come under considerable criticism lately. Despite these criticisms, I really enjoyed this book. I was ready to write this off as a ridiculous attempt at a futuristic thriller, but found that I couldn't stop reading it. Patterson's attention to a driving plot, really helps this story move along, but doesn't allow for much character development. Normally, this would cause me to find the characters one-dimensional, but in this futuristic setting, I get the feeling that these "robotic" characters add to the overall intention of the story. Hays sees many of his relationships explode before his eyes, but hardly seems to care. Overall, this is definitely not a masterpiece of literature, but is a fun way to spend the afternoon with a story from a master thriller writer.

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