Title: Floor 21
Author: Jason Luthor
Publisher: Scout Press
The last of humanity is trapped at the top of an isolated apartment tower with no memory of how they got there or why. All travel beneath Floor 21 is forbidden, and nobody can ever recall seeing the ground floor. Beneath Floor 21, a sickness known as the Creep infests that halls of the Tower. A biological mass that grows stronger in reaction to people’s fear and anger, the Creep prey’s on people by causing them to hallucinate until they’re in a state of panicking, before finally growing strong enough to lash out and consume them. Only a small team known as Scavengers are allowed to go beneath Floor 21 to pillage the lower levels in search of food and supplies.
Jackie is a brilliant young girl that lives far above the infection and who rarely has to worry about facing any harm. However, her intense curiosity drives her to investigate the bottom floors and the Creep. To deal with her own anxiety and insecurities, she documents her experiences on a personal recorder as she explores the secrets of the Tower. During the course of her investigation, Jackie will find herself at odds with Tower Authority, which safeguards what remains of humanity, as she attempts to determine what created the Creep, how humanity became trapped at the top of the Tower, and whether anyone knows if escape is even possible.
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An infestation of the Creep has taken over the world. A living, reactive, muscle-like, goop, the Creep has spread out over the surface of the Earth and forced the remaining people to the higher levels of tall towers. When you touch the Creep or live around it, the Creep can give you hallucinations and make you see demons out of the corners of your eye. However, the deeper you go into the Creep, the more dangerous it becomes. The Creep has the ability to entangle a person and dissolve them. With humans living at the top of towers, Tower Authority has emerged. The more privileged live on the top floors, while the less privileged live lower. They all follow the rules set by the top floor, Floor 1. Jackie lives on Floor 4. She is super inquisitive and wants to know all about the Tower, the Creep and the world outside that she has never seen. However, none of this is allowed. Jackie would love nothing more than to be a Scavenger, those who go to the lower, uninhabited levels to find supplies and food to bring up to people. Jackie's friend Mike and her hero, Vick are Scavengers, but they have to keep going lower and lower to find things, this Scavenging though, Mike wants to try to find the source of the Creep's power and eliminate it.
This is a YA dystopia book with a splash of horror. I was very intrigued by the idea of the Creep, a different and unique threat that caused a trying set of circumstances for those in the Tower. The story is told through a series of recordings, first by Jackie, then by Vick, then Jackie again. Jackie has a lot of questions that she isn't even supposed to be asking, so the recorder is a good outlet for her. Jackie's character is a bit typical for a teenager, but her investigative skills and bravery are commendable. She does end up figuring out some things about the Creep and the Tower itself. Vick's recording were very enjoyable for me, he was literally in the thick of the Creep with his Scavenging team and the action and danger really picked up. There are still a lot of questions left to be answered, such as: Where did the Creep come from? Is there anyone else out there in the world? How long have people been forced up into Towers? and How the heck are they still Scavenging meat? Overall, a fresh breath in the YA dystopian genre.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Jason Luthor has spent a long life writing for sports outlets, media companies and universities. His earliest writing years came during his coverage of the San Antonio Spurs as an affiliate with the Spurs Report and its media partner, WOAI Radio. He would later enjoy a moderate relationship with Blizzard Entertainment, writing lore and stories for potential use in future games. At the academic level he has spent several years pursuing a PhD in American History at the University of Houston, with a special emphasis on Native American history.
His inspirations include some of the obvious; The Lord of the Rings and Chronciles of Narnia are some of the most cited fantasy series in history. However, his favorite reads include the Earthsea Cycle, the Chronicles of Prydain, as well as science fiction hits such as Starship Troopers and Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?
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