Thursday, March 26, 2015

Persona by Genevieve Valentine

Suyana Sapaki is the Face of the United Amazonian Rainforest Confederation. She was tapped as a teen and trained to represent the UARC in the International Assembly. But this doesn't mean that Suyana has any semblance of power or influence, and the IA makes sure its Faces know this. No, Suyana is expected to attend events, chair committees when asked, and express only the opinions and votes set forth for her. But when Suyana finds herself at the center of an assassination attempt, she has to wonder if someone has discovered her deepest secret. 

Genevieve Valentine is a smart author and it shows in Persona. The intricate layering of this world, which is much like our own - with a few key... exaggerations so to speak (some cynics would argue she's spot on with our own political system), takes some time to ease into. The political manipulations become clearer as the story progresses, thankfully. At the start I was more than a little confused about exactly how this was all playing out, trying to figure out the nature of the IA and the Faces to begin with.

In this world, politics are done behind the scenes. Faces like Suyana are meant to be seen, literally. They're contracted for everything from public appearances to relationships - a bit like endorsements but for every aspect of their lives. And yet, Suyana has managed to keep some pieces of her life personal. And it's this little secret that could be the reason someone wants her dead.

The attempt is witnessed by Daniel Park, a paparazzo (a Snap). Publicity and photos of Faces are also controlled by the IA, so Daniel's freelancing would be greatly frowned upon (and he's gotten in trouble with the IA before, as we soon learn). But when he ends up being the only person Suyana can count on he knows he can't tell her what he was doing at the scene.

There are so many potential plots against, for, or even by Suyana and Daniel that it's impossible not to become swept up in their story. And the clues Valentine sets along the way to key you into the world fit well within the story as they're placed, both avoiding any icky info dump as well as hang ups in the plot. A win, win all around.

Rating: 4/5

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