Fate of Perfection
By K. F. Breene
Published January 1st 2017 (47North)
Score: 2.5/10 (Did Not Finish)
Normally if I don’t finish a book, I don’t give it a rating or a review. It seems unfair to voice such a negative opinion on a story I didn’t finish. It’s like I’m not giving it a chance. Besides, there are so many good books out there; Why dwell on the bad ones? Move on and go share something amazing. There have been a few books in the recent past I haven’t finished, and some of them I’ve given up on much quicker than Fate of Perfection. So why am I now taking the time to write a review of a bad book that I only got 40% of the way through?
To be honest, I’m not sure. Seems like a huge waste of time, but I suppose if I can prevent another person from being suckered into this book it would be worth it
I bought this book thinking it was a science fiction action story. The blurb describes a woman named Millicent Foster, who lives in a dystopian future where massive corporations control everything; even human breeding. These conglomerates genetically engineer the human race – now known as ‘staffers’ or ‘assets’ – to perform set tasks in this society. Millicent has been bred to be exceptionally intelligent and physically perfect. Because she is so exceptional, she is given the rare privilege of breeding (or being a ‘female creator’) in order to create a super intelligent baby. This works, but then Millicent gets attached to her daughter, and when it comes time to say goodbye, she instead takes her daughter and uses her skills as a weapon designer/expert hacker to escape.
It sounds really fun, doesn’t it? Corporation-controlled dystopia, badarse heroine, mother trying to protect her daughter? What’s not to like?
Well, the problem is, Fate of Perfection isn’t a science-fiction action story. This is a ‘romance’ story. I use quotation marks because it isn’t romantic in the slightest. Remember how I criticised Uprooted by Naom Novik for featuring an unhealthy relationship? Well, there was a lot of other stuff in that book I liked, but here the cool future dystopia is just a flimsy backdrop to the trainwreck that is Millicent’s relationship with Mr. Gunner.
Red flags went off as soon as Mr. Gunner was introduced. An oversexed, big strong man with long hair, who calls the heroine ‘cupcake’ or ‘princess’ all the time and makes immature sexual innuendos, all of this after being repeatedly told not to by Millicent. At first Millicent seemed to be responding to his advances the way any sane woman would; by saying she wasn’t interested and telling him to stop sexually harassing her. At one point in the story, it even looked like Mr. Gunner was going to be the villain; or at the very least, that his sleazy demeanour was just a show for the higher ups that keep tabs on him. That would have been interesting.
But there came a point where it was obvious that no, Millicent and Mr. Gunner were the designated couple, and yes, he really is an arsehole. But it’s okay; Millicent is off her libido suppressing pills now, so she’s starting to get warm fuzzy feelings when he talks about his dick. I turned off my kindle and looked up the book to see if it was heading in the direction I thought it was, and saw that yes, it was going there. Maybe if the actual plot was going somewhere I may have kept going, but it was already obvious that Millicent and Mr. Gunner were pretty much unstoppable with their combined skills. There just seemed no point in putting myself through more of this sexual harassment, oops, I mean, ‘banter’.
I think the reason this particular book is upsetting me so much, is that it lacks the naivety of a lot of other books that depict these types of relationships. Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey glorify controlling men who act like stalkers, but those books seem to legitimately view this sort of behaviour as romantic and protective. In Fate of Perfection, Mr. Gunner is described as protective, but his inappropriate behaviour is correctly branded as sexual harassment. And Millicent is shown to be very smart, but her lack of interest in his passes at her is implied to be due to her libido being suppressed, not due to her being uninterested in a man that makes sexual advances towards her after being told ‘no’ repeatedly. I hate reading about these kinds of relationships. No-one is playing ‘hard to get’; no means no people.
There is the possibility that I gave up too soon, and that Millicent and Mr. Gunner grow and learn and begin developing a healthier relationship. But who am I kidding, that never happens in these types of ‘romances’.
It’s a real shame this story turned out the way it did, because I was really interested in reading about a corporation-controlled dystopia and genetic modifications to humanity. I may have even become invested in the romance part if it wasn’t so badly done. Or if our perfect super-smart dangerous heroine wasn’t totally useless without Mr. Gunner. I originally gave this a rating of 1/10 in order not to be too mean, but then I thought about it a bit more, and I really did like the way terminology was used to further worldbuilding. And ‘curve-hugger’ was a fun insult once I figured out the context. Plus the idea was good, even though it wasn’t well executed, so I bumped it up a point and a half. But still, stay away people.