Perfect World, by Shari Sakurai: a Review

In twenty-second century London, Eric Rawlins has been genetically Perfect Worldengineered as a hero, a man with strength and speed and healing powers well beyond those of typical humans. Working for the London Security Agency (the LSA), Eric’s work is to keep London, and England, safe, isolated as it now is from Europe and the rest of the world by the aftermath of the Great Tsunamis of the twenty-first century and the political collapse and reorganization of the world’s powers.

The arch-enemy of the LSA is Adam Larimore, terrorist supreme and gorgeous bad boy. As Eric and Adam face off, Eric is drawn into Adam’s world, only to learn that perhaps Adam – and the LSA – are not all they seem. Is Adam telling Eric the truth, or is Eric developing Stockholm Syndrome?

I can’t fault Perfect World for being fast-paced or action-packed: it’s both, although there are times the plot machinations seem a bit engineered. The writing is adequate: there are a few awkward sentences and some minor usage errors (e.g., lie vs. lay), and, especially in the early chapters, the voice is too frequently passive. The reader is told, more than shown, what is happening. But where Perfect World fell apart for me was in the world-building. In what is essentially Fortress London, in a world where almost all resources appear to be directed to defense, a world devastated by climate change, people happily sit down to breakfast with coffee and orange juice.

But that wasn’t the biggest problem I had with Perfect World’s 22nd century London. By about three chapter in, I had a question: why was everyone, apparently, white? Why were their last names Matheson, Drake, Beasley, Rawlins, Larimore? Where were the Mbutus and the Patels, the Wus and the Chavezes and the Hussains and the Parks and the Walenskis, all of whom live in the 21st century London I know and love? For a city as multicultural as London to suddenly become purely Anglo-Saxon with no explanation was asking too much of my ability to suspend disbelief, which in turn affected my ability to believe in some of the twists and turns of the plot.

I rate Perfect World  as a bare 3/5, with low scores for world-building and plot contortions contributing to the overall score. As a young writer Shari Sakurai has promise, but needs to more fully realize and develop her world and its characters to reach her potential.

The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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