If “Stranger Things,” “Maximum Ride,” and “Fahrenheit 451,” had a baby in a world where mega-corporations owned everything you just might get “Knight in Paper Armor,” by Nicholas Conley.
This books hits hard.
I honestly had a difficult time getting through the beginning of this book. Not due to lack of interest- but because of how powerful, emotional, and chillingly real the book feels.
I remember reading Elie Wiesel’s, “Night,” in high school and being completely haunted by the concentration camps and treatment of Jews in World War II. I was shocked at the depths of horror humanity was capable of. And honestly, reading this book brought back a lot of those same feelings.
In “Knight in Paper Armor,” the world is run and (practically) owned by Thorne Century. Thorne is basically the Walmart-Amazon-McDonalds juggernaut of industry. America hit a huge depression and the 50 United States fractured into min-states that work effectively like ghettos. All Jewish people are confined to a specific location, all Mexicans immigrants in another, and so on. It’s terrifying to see America chopped up and overlaid with a heavy layer of Nazi-era ideologies. What’s terrifying about it is- it doesn’t feel like an unrealistic future.
And given the chilling setting it honestly took spectacular characters to keep me reading. Thankfully, well rounded, interesting characters are exactly what brings light and hope to this book.
As you get into the story, you get to know Billy Jakobek and Natalie Gonzalez. Billy is a young boy who has incredible psychic powers under complete control of Thorne Century. Natalie is the daughter of an immigrant family working in terrible conditions at the Thorne factory in their small town. Fate brings them together and we get to see the magic grow between them.
It is the dynamic between Billy and Natalia that keep you pushing through the darkest parts of the story. Because, no matter how bleak their reality may be, you can’t help but hope and cheer on the couples the story builds and builds to a fever pitch.
In short, it’s a nail-biter of a book with a lot of heart.
So, if you are looking for a dystopian sci-fi adventure with real grit- I fully recommend picking up this book.
Knight in Paper ArmorNicholas Conley Genre: Dystopian Publisher: Red Adept Publishing Date of Publication: September 15, 2020 ASIN: B08CLSSX8Z Word Count: About 113,000 Book Description: Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others. Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind. When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know. Amazon
About the Author: Nicholas Conley is an award-winning Jewish American author, journalist, playwright, and coffee vigilante. His books, such as Knight in Paper Armor, Pale Highway, Intraterrestrial, and Clay Tongue: A Novelette, merge science fiction narratives with hard-hitting examinations of social issues. Originally from California, he now lives in New Hampshire. www.NicholasConley.comhttps://twitter.com/NicholasConley1https://www.facebook.com/NicholasConleyWrites/https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5044625.Nicholas_Conleyhttps://www.amazon.com/Nicholas-Conley/e/B004M7ITYG