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Reviewed by Alex Ndirangu for Readers' Favorite
Terms of Service by Craig W. Stanfill transports you over 200 years into the future. Here, freedom and privacy are ancient memories. Everything that you do, even the slightest contact with anyone across the street, is closely monitored by AIs. Suppose you deviate from the city's terms by acting out of your own personal will? In that case, you risk years of being locked away in a camp, doing hard manual labor from sunup to sundown under brutal supervision, if not lowering your social credit rating. But is anyone in this world strong-willed and daring enough to represent those of us who so dearly wish that we need and deserve to be ourselves but are scared of being locked up? There is one. Although Kim works at The AI Company's regional headquarters and has even recently been promoted, she suffers from an emptiness that cannot be filled by her mind-blowingly intelligent refrigerator that knows what food is good for her health or the virtual reality ballgames. Grab a copy of this book to join Kim as she goes rogue and embarks on an adventure that leads to self-discovery.
The plot is relatively fast-paced, and the author's ability to inform the reader about this futuristic world takes you on a whirlwind trip right from the first chapter. Here, you will visualize Kim arguing with her ever-stubborn refrigerator that wants her to have tofu daily. You will also wish you had Kim's coffee maker, which springs into action even before she wakes up. Craig W. Stanfill did a good job reflecting on broken family ties and how they affect a child's upbringing. I felt sorry for Kim and everyone in the city who was forcefully taken from their birthmother at the tender age of four. I was also overwhelmed with emotion when Kim, as a child, was forced by her mentor to suppress every emotion, be it anger or happiness. I so dearly wished I could creep in and give Kim's heartless mentor the scolding of a lifetime. Terms of Service reads like a stream of consciousness as a young woman who has carried pain through many years of oppression gives us the hope that one day she might get the freedom to think for herself. This intriguing adventure ends with a satisfying conclusion that will leave you wanting to read the story again. Pick up a copy and enjoy.