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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Lights Out is the first book in the Lights Out trilogy by Joey Paul, an outstanding futuristic science fiction work with a well-imagined setting. The book is set in a dystopian period after the devastation of war. This time, the new society establishes the rule of equality, and in the United English Cityships, everyone enjoys life equality, and everyone is subjected to the sixty years and one day rule. It means that on the day after their sixtieth birthday, citizens are sent to their final sleep. Lock works at the base and supervises the Lights Out events. She believes and trusts in the system until she makes a startling discovery. In fact, the system can be cheated, and when one woman complains that she is not sixty, Lock’s curiosity is aroused, and she begins to investigate the incident. She quickly understands that not everyone is equal and that technology can be manipulated to represent the wrong age for some. She sets out with her friend, Clara, to uncover the truth. The stakes are high, and each step they take is fraught with treachery.
Lights Out is an excellent story with a compelling premise: the law that allows everyone to have just one child and to live only for sixty years is not equal for everyone. When the female protagonist discovers massive corruption in the government, she is not only startled but utterly alarmed, and she escapes from the base. Joey Paul weaves tense scenes, putting her characters into situations of danger. The characters are expertly written, and their humanity rubs off powerfully on readers. I found myself rooting for Clara and Lock, wanting them to succeed in their mission and feeling deeply for them. While this novel is set in an imaginary, dystopian setting, it is replete with realism and humanity. The characters are relatable, the technological world realistic, and the originality in the plot is an element that will intrigue readers. Joey Paul has the gift of capturing the hearts of readers and keeping them engaged throughout the story. It is simply fascinating.