First, I’d like to address the book’s title: A sequela is an aftereffect of a disease, condition or injury. For example, chronic neck pain can be a sequela of whiplash. I mention this because I thought readers might appreciate that bit of information.
The Main Concept:
The story takes place in London during the 2080s and follows the life and career of up-and-coming virologist, Kester Lowe. Kester, from the start, is a hard-working, likeable individual with a well-meaning mother and a close group of friends, who are also his fellow lab workers. Kester’s closest friend, Dee, a scientist and a young lady of high morals and standards, is more than a bit dismayed when Kester switches gears and takes a position with a large corporation as a Fashion Virus Designer. After an unintentional betrayal is perpetrated by Kester on Dee, she washes her hands of him completely and they go their separate ways (or so Kester seems to think…hell hath no fury…). Kester doesn’t spend much time pining over his former friend – he’s whisked off by powerful, sexy Alexis to become her trophy superstar. However, it doesn’t take long for Kester to realize there’s a price to pay for all his fame and fortune.
Sequela is hugely imaginative, particularly for a first-time novelist. Ms. Smith does a fantastic job of spinning a uniquely creative take on what might be in store for the future. Her ability to inject colorful and descriptive narrative into what could have easily become a novel based solely upon futuristic medical advances and techniques should be enough to keep readers interested. The story is intelligent, thought-provoking and well-written.
Sequela could have used a Watson – someone the writer could have used to explain some of the questions readers might have about the storyline: Why would people want to be deliberately infected with viruses? Why would society become so blatantly oversexed and accept the concept of sexually transmitted disease as a fashion statement? Perhaps a prologue to more or less set the stage. I didn’t feel there was enough (or any) background to make readers say, “Ahhh, so this is what led to all of this.”
The concept of corporate greed, cut-throat tactics and a general lack of caring about who gets hurt as long as profits are made is the thread that runs through this novel. So is the stance of the Real Church – sinners must repent and turn away from their City ways.
While I understand that this is Science Fiction and exploring societal and moral dilemmas in a futuristic/fantasy manner is the nature of this genre, I was left wanting a certain amount of answers (perhaps material for a prequel?). My wanting to understand the whys, didn’t detract from the meat of the book, however. I’d still have to say that if you enjoy fashion with a twist, terrorism and a bit of good vs. evil thrown in, then you’ll enjoy Sequela.