Surrogate Code (Book 2 of The Surrogate Colony Series)
Surrogate Code (Book 2 of The Surrogate Colony Series),
by Boshra Rasti
Hey guys, welcome back to Bookish Beyond.
How have you been?
Today, I’m excited to be reviewing the gripping dystopian sequel, Surrogate Code, by Boshra Rasti.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.
Zachary and Adriana have escaped from their respective prisons (Surrogate and Eunuch centres) which are controlled by the corrupt Microscrep corporation. Now, they have finally reached the safety of the off-grid scientist’s village, where not a single shred of Microscrepian influence is felt. Meanwhile, high-ranking members of Microscrep hunt for the courageous pair who have escaped their grasp.
However, Zachary and Adriana now have new problems to contend with. While the scientists seem to half-trust Adriana (having been a surrogate), they are far less trusting of Zachary. As such, they send him on a dangerous mission (alone) to test his loyalty to them. He is to venture out to the Surrogate Colony, to find out what new plans Microscrep is hatching against the scientists.
Meanwhile, Adriana is sent to scout out the Eunuch Colony with the Chief’s son, Anthony, all the while worrying about her and Zachary’s future once their respective missions are over.
Furthermore, an insidious doctor, Dr Angler carries out devious new plans, which he hopes will aid Microscrep in conquering the scientists once and for all.
The biggest question for our two young heroes is this: who can they trust once this is all over? And will they ever be free to live as they want, or will their lives be forever subjected to some form of coercive control?
For this review, I have chosen to focus on the following characters: Zachary, Adriana, the Scientist Village’s Chief, and Dr Angler.
Zachary is a brave young man, whose loyalty to those he cares for knows no bounds. As a former eunuch, he is treated with fear and suspicion by those in the scientist’s village. Personality-wise, he is a reserved and diplomatic individual, always trying to mediate difficult situations, a feeling a deep sense of compassion for the suffering of others. Zachary does all he can to prove himself to the scientists and is a kind and committed young man, who is determined to achieve his goal of helping others.
Adriana is a courageous and headstrong young woman. However, I found her less likable as a character in book two. Instead of the risk-taking young woman I remembered, who endured terrible pain to be free of Microscrep’s grasp, she seemed a bit more juvenile and lost, with her part of the story focusing primarily on how much she feared losing Zachary’s love. While I understood that she was genuinely worried about losing his affections now they had left Microscrep’s influence, her lack of trust in him was sad to see, and I felt that her part of the story could have been fleshed out more.
The chief of the scientist’s village seemed kind and compassionate at first. In addition, he appeared cautious and wise, wanting to put his people’s safety and wellbeing above all else. He showed a great care for people and would go to great lengths to protect those in his village. However, there was something peculiar about him from the start which I couldn’t quite pinpoint. Furthermore, his deep distrust for Zachary and Adriana as ex-Microscrepians, even when proving themselves as loyal, felt far from reassuring. While this sense of distrust seemed understandable at first, the fact that it persisted felt worrying, leading me to wonder whether the chief’s actions were in the lead character’s best interests after all.
Finally, we come to Dr Angler, a sadistic doctor working for Microscrep in one of the Eunuch centres. It was plain to see that he thought of himself as God-like, crafting heinous plans for how to control other’s minds through his unique technological creations. While he sought to prove himself as worthy to Microscrep’s leader, he was also more than happy to plan to go against him, to enact his own plans in the hopes of gaining more control and power for himself. However, despite this power-hungry exterior, there were also brief moments where I witnessed a glimmer of vulnerability in Dr Angler, where he seemed to feel genuine care for another, however fleeting. This led me to think that maybe, if he weren’t forced to remain working in the eunuch centre, that even Dr Angler could have worked to redeem himself.
There were many positive aspects to Surrogate Code, which I have detailed below:
- Firstly, the story is told in the first person, present tense, switching between Zachary and Adriana’s perspectives. This was executed well and provided alternate perspectives of the same events, with the present tense giving the story a sense of immediacy, as if it were happening in real time.
- Secondly, the characters were well developed and I enjoyed being privy to their inner-most thought processes: the way the lead character’s thoughts shifted with incoming information felt very realistic.
- Furthermore, the plot itself was gripping and full of tension, keeping me interested at every turn.
- In addition, this sequel provided a stark contrast with book one, where Zachary and Adriana were once controlled with drugs, societal brainwashing, and algorithms. Now, they are permitted to experience the world with their own individual emotions and thoughts. It was a beautiful, heart-warming contrast, which allowed me to see what they were really like as individuals, absent from Microscrep’s corrupt influence.
- Finally, the author explores a range of important themes throughout the narrative, e.g. the true nature of love vs what people are led to believe love is by their society/culture.
Of all the quotes I identified in this story, the following five stood out the most.
1) ‘Distraction is a very strong political game’.
2) ‘The most important aspect of survival is that the majority is more important than the minority’.
3) ‘Love is the enemy to all those who want ultimate power, as without it, it is easy to mould and indoctrinate with the fire of hatred’.
4) ‘Love isn’t limited; it is a living and breathing entity that must be fed. Love is an exchange, a relationship – it is a lived experience’.
5) ‘– we both realize the vulnerability of being human, the absolute certainty that there is an end and that this end is a mystery’
Overall, I found Surrogate Code to be a phenomenal sequel to Surrogate Colony. Its gripping plot, emotive writing style and complex characters came together to form a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Themes included love, individuality vs conformity, survival, technology, ideology and indoctrination, control and power, and deception.
My Rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of eerie, young adult dystopian series.
Would you like more information?
To learn more about Surrogate Code, you can visit its Goodreads page, HERE.
Or, to find out more about Boshra Rasti, simply visit her website, HERE.
As always, thank you for joining me for today’s review.
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Have a wonderful week,