Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell is a unique twist on a future filled with robots, since the robots look like children and are designed to keep the population sane as the birthrate plummets. Expiration Day is also unique because it is told through diary entries from the main character with a couple of other things thrown into the mix. I was strongly reminded of The Testament of Jessie Lamb while reading Expiration Day, since most of the book deals with the day to day adventures of a teenager in a world that is collapsing out from under the human race. Similarly to Jessie Lamb as well, the ending of Expiration Day is definitely the best part of the book in my opinion, so if you can stick it out to 80%, it’ll hopefully all be worth it ;-).
Note: I received Expiration Day through Netgalley for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell
Published by Tor Books on April 22nd, 2014
Genres: Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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What happens when you turn eighteen and there are no more tomorrows?
It is the year 2049, and humanity is on the brink of extinction….
Tania Deeley has always been told that she’s a rarity: a human child in a world where most children are sophisticated androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. When a decline in global fertility ensued, it was the creation of these near-perfect human copies called teknoids that helped to prevent the utter collapse of society.
Though she has always been aware of the existence of teknoids, it is not until her first day at The Lady Maud High School for Girls that Tania realizes that her best friend, Siân, may be one. Returning home from the summer holiday, she is shocked by how much Siân has changed. Is it possible that these changes were engineered by Oxted? And if Siân could be a teknoid, how many others in Tania’s life are not real?
Driven by the need to understand what sets teknoids apart from their human counterparts, Tania begins to seek answers. But time is running out. For everyone knows that on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted—never to be heard from again.
- As I said above, the ending of Expiration Day really makes the book. All the various tangents that Tania goes on as well as the interludes between her journal entries finally come together in an exciting and intriguing way. The ending also changed my perspective on events that happened earlier in the book, making them more meaningful than they originally seemed.
- Tania’s family in Expiration Day is so amazing. Her mother and father are very important secondary characters and really portray the best kind of parents. They aren’t absent while Tania goes off and has adventures; they are right there with her, caring about her choices, punishing her when she messes up, and helping her when the world collapses. I love her parents so much!
- The last third of Expiration Day is exciting and awesome to read. I loved the direction the plot went with this crazy trial and we finally got to find out a lot more about the way the future world works, including more about the state of Earth’s human population, other countries, and what is really going on.
- The first two thirds of Expiration Day mostly consist of teenage relationship and school drama with only bits of interesting sci-fi thrown in. Tania is in a band and dating around at various points, so a lot of the plot is focused on those relationships instead of the more heavy sci-fi.
- Tania felt very immature to me especially at the beginning of Expiration Day. She decides to write her diary as if an alien named Zog is reading it in the future, and so she frequently writes directly to Zog, which I found a bit annoying and childish. She’s also not very nice to a lot of the kids around her and even is pretty critical of her closest friend. She gets better towards the last third of Expiration Day, but I was quite put off at first.
- In general, the diary style of Expiration Day just didn’t really work for me. I didn’t like how important events were skipped over or summarized because Tania didn’t feel like writing about them. I then found various other scenes inauthentic because it didn’t seem like that is how a teenage girl writing in a diary would describe them. I think that this style actually made it harder for me to connect with Tania, even though I was in theory reading her diary.
Expiration Day is an interesting sci-fi near-future story for a specific audience. I wasn’t a fan of the writing style and main character, but if the diary style appeals to you, then this could be a great book for you. I actually almost DNF’d Expiration Day because it just didn’t seem to be going anywhere, but it does eventually pick up once you’re most of the way through. I wouldn’t say the ending makes the entire book worth the read for everyone, but if you’re intrigued, don’t worry if things feel slow for a bit ;-).
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell
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