Thank you to Ella at Jo Fletcher Books for sending me a copy of this stunning novel!
Title: Radio Life
Author: Derek B. Miller
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books (imprint of Quercus)
I’ve read a few dystopic novels, but I’m not sure I’ve ever read one like this. Most of the dystopic novels I’ve read have been set either in a different world to our own, or our own – except changed so much that it feels like it’s another world (if you’ve read something like this, let me know in the comments!). However, Miller has done something that strays from the “norm” of the novels I’ve personally read. Radio Life is set in a dystopic world that is very much still our own. In Miller’s post-apocalyptic setting, something happened a long long time ago that changed our world forever; the human race turned on each other to such an extent that they drastically changed the world. In the world left behind, the people of that long ago past are known as “The Ancients” (that’s us!)
I loved the fact that the people of The Commonwealth living in what they called the Stadium, are split into factions that were inspired by a “Gone World” – as our present and distant future is known – game (I won’t mention the game’s name, but there a few that could fit). I also thought the choice of terms for certain groups of people in relation to their job within the community were interesting but also accurate. The world within our world that Miller has created, is also captivating and so atmospheric that I didn’t want to put it down. In an extension of this, the fact that most of it is written in present tense unless a character is looking back at something that happened in the past, made me feel twice as immersed in the story as I normally would, and as though I was there with the character the novel was centred on – in the moment as everything was happening! Having not read many books written this way it was very refreshing and made it twice as fascinating for me. Additionally, I say a lot of the time that an author’s writing often evokes images in my mind as I’m reading, and that is no less true with this – the images, or “film reel” as I often think of them, created within my mind as I read were vivid and vibrant, and really added to the feeling that I was there as events unfolded. The storyline and plot, though it jumped around a bit throughout , was captivating and thought provoking and – I felt – acted as a sort of…warning or moral to the dangers of knowledge and technology to the human race and how they can both drastically alter our fate in very negative ways.
In terms of characters, I didn’t particularly like Lilly; she seemed a little too sure of herself and her thoughts or ideas about things though she somewhat redeems herself for me near the end. I also didn’t particularly like the General, though I think perhaps this is intentional. I found Elimisha incredibly courageous despite what she goes through, and felt a level of affection for her by the end of the novel. Alessandra and her parents I also fell in love with though I won’t say why as it may spoil certain parts of the novel. There is a certain character who, due to their behaviour, I wasn’t sure about and had my suspicions confirmed further on in the novel. I also found the Keepers particularly fascinating because of their way of life – but I shan’t say anymore on characters or the novel or else I shall start spoiling parts of it haha.
I’ve never read any writing by Derek B. Miller, but regardless of this I really connected to his writing. He writes the characters’ surroundings beautifully which is why the novel felt so atmospheric to me, and the relationships between certain characters in such a way that was truly wonderful. The family dynamics that he creates even if I didn’t witness them first-hand because a character was talking in the past tense, were also wonderfully written.
The only critique I really have on the novel, is that there were minor grammatical errors that I noticed that I thought could have been picked up on and corrected in the editing stages – though these were few and I feel no need to discuss them in further detail. Additionally there were also instances where I noticed gaps where a certain word may have been unintentionally missed out (this happens to everyone; I often notice in uni assignments as I go through that I’ve missed out a word), and at one stage a line in a conversation that seemed to be in the wrong place and didn’t match up with the rest of the dialogue in terms of which character was speaking – and at certain points in a paragraph a he or she was mentioned, but I had no clue who they were referring to. I also felt as though certain chapters could have been cut down a bit in terms of background information, actions/events etc. or cut entirely as at times what I was reading seemed unnecessary.
Overall, I massively enjoyed reading this book and can’t thank Ella over at Jo Fletcher Books enough forgiving me the opportunity to read and fall in love with it. If there’s a sequel coming or another upcoming release from Derek B. Miller I’d love to read them 🙂
If you’re also a part of the social media blast, feel free to drop the link to your review below in the comments so I can check it out :D. Please also do this if you also received an arc of this novel I’d love to know your thoughts!
You have wings. Believe in them and yourself, and you will fly. ❤