I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Becoming Human (the 1st book in the Exilon 5 Trilogy) is written by Eliza Green. Admittedly I was surprised that this was written by a woman, from the first 1/3 of the book, I had the feeling that it was written by a man. Considering that the story is told predominantly through the eyes of men, I must commend Eliza on capturing the essence of man in storytelling views.
Becoming Human is based in the year 2163 when Earth is overpopulated and polluted to the point that the sun is no longer visible in the sky and the temperatures have dropped. A planet named Exilon 5 has been terraformed and has replicated 5 major cities that people have started being transported to. However, the race that was on Exilon 5 before the terraforming process were not completely annihilated and have continued to thrive under the surface.
Eliza does a great job of combining many fears and speculations into her futuristic novel. Everyone has an ID chip embedded in their thumb that is used for everything from signatures to building entry. Overcrowding has reached the point that bodies of water have been filled in to create more housing. Medical advances allow people to live well into their 100s, reaching 175 as a ripe old age. Optional suicide booths that inject a substance to painlessly kill people due to the mass overcrowding. Workers are required for weeks at a time with drugs that allow them to stay awake and only getting hours or a single day off after a week or longer shift. With no space for additional housing and the lack of sunlight from the layer of pollution, food can no longer be grown on Earth and people eat and drink substances from food replication machines to get the appropriate nutrients. Vitamin D shots are readily available for mood enhancement due to the lack of sunlight.
The Prologue to the book had useful information but was very dry and overly technical. It kind of set a negative tone for the book, and I was a little worried about whether or not I would be reading an enjoyable story or a science fiction technical novel; luckily the rest of book is much more inviting and easy to become immersed in. Eliza has written a lot of characters that are cold and detached in many ways, and yet still have the ability for you to get to know them and want to know more about their stories. The main negative thing that I have to say about this book would be the dry prologue and the fact that it needs a cleaner edit. There were times within the novel that some sentences would be incomplete or missing a word on the end of them.
Becoming Human is written from many different perspectives to give a "whole picture" kind of feel. In the beginning it took a little bit of getting used to with a bit of jumping around in locations, but once I got into the story line and used to the different locations of main characters I had no problems seamlessly switching between people and locations for more pieces of the puzzle that was uncovering the big secret of Exilon 5.
Overall I think that Eliza has a winning story with Becoming Human. The build up is done well with hints at possibilities but nothing to amount to the actual ending of the story. The book closes well, with lead up into the next book in the Trilogy, but not with a complete drop off. I enjoyed the characters and was definitely feeling anger and disgust at what the leading organizations have been up to, and I am definitely interested in reading the second book: Altered Reality. I give this book 4/5 stars, and could easily bump it up to 5 with some cleaner edit and a prologue that was easily to connect with. If you are into Sci-Fi, Futuristic novels, Mysteries, Suspense, Space travel and Terraforming, this book is definitely right up your alley.