Title: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful
Author: Arwen Elys Dayton
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
No. of pages: Hardcover, 384
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Date Read: November 22, 2018
For fans of television shows Black Mirror and Westworld, this compelling, mind-bending novel is a twisted look into the future, exploring how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimen and what it means to be human at all.
Set in our world, spanning the near to distant futures, Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a novel made up of six interconnected stories that ask how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimens, and how hard that will push the definition of “human.”
This extraordinary work explores the amazing possibilities of genetic manipulation and life extension, as well as the ethical quandaries that will arise with these advances. The results range from the heavenly to the monstrous. Deeply thoughtful, poignant, horrifying, and action-packed, Arwen Elys Dayton’s Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is groundbreaking in both form and substance.
Thanks to Delacorte Press for the Advanced e-Copy to review!
Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a book that is way beyond our time, but also one of the most relevant books that I’ve read recently. This book takes the concept of the recent studies of gene modifications to eradicate disease and then thought “what if?”. I loved this book because it made you think, really think, about the expansion of science and the stories that we could one day hear of and see right before our eyes.
Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful, written by Arwen Elys Dayton, is broken up into six parts. Each increasingly furthers the thought of modifications within the human body. In the first, we meet a pair of twins with a genetic disorder that hinders their organs growth in comparison with their bodies. The solution is to join the organs in one of the twins in order to save at least one of them. The second follows a girl who had been in a terrible car accident. To save her, the doctors had used machinery and artificial skin. Due to growing hatred of the practice based on a radio preacher, she has told no one her secret due to ridicule until a date gone wrong threatens to spill everything she tried to hide. The third follows the radio preacher himself, Tad Tadd. While in Africa to protest against modifications that include disease annihilation after being thrown out of his church for the growing differences of philosophies, his family is attacked and his wife and son are killed. Immediately after their death, he realizes that maybe he has been the wrong the entire time and makes a choice for himself and his daughter that holds consequences for millions and for the following years to come. The fourth part follows a young boy whose parents thought that the modifications they made to their son’s intelligence were not up to par for their liking. In return, they have handed him over to a company that not only has modified him further but has also put him in charge of keeping their treasure safe, manatee chimeras full of extra organs for humans. After a history lesson where he learns what’s really happening above the surface, he makes a choice that could change his life. In part five, we meet a boy from California that was out of time. Years before, he found out that he had cancer. With his parents’ agreement, he froze himself in a warehouse in Estonia until a cure for his cancer had been found. Years later we see him and hear his story as he’s on the run and has been turned into something that he never asked for. In part six, we’re years and years ahead in the future and on a reservation where those who have been modified have preserved a small portion of natural genes. The story follows a girl who happened to see the beginning of the end for modified humans. As she and others leave the reservation for the first time, they search for what this means for them and for future generations.
I am in awe of these stories that Dayton has written. They are detailed, well thought out, well planned, and well executed. Each builds upon the story before and heightens the depths of what we can do scientifically and medically. But she also creates a story of its downfall. I’m in love with how all of these stories turned and built off each other. Dayton has truly written something that seems impossible now, but with the advances that we already have scientifically, there’s no reason to doubt that something like what she has written could take place in some near or far future.
This book also makes you think of what it really means to be human. Is it what we look like, our features, our organs, our brains? Is it what we value or model? Is it what we change or think is more appealing? Is it what makes us tick or helps us survive? Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful truly makes you think about what you value and what you value as “human”. Not everything in this book is possible currently, but if it was, would that change your view? If you could keep a loved one living by becoming a piece of them, would you? If you could recreate someone with the assets that you need in order for them to do your bidding, would you? If you could get your revenge on someone knowing that in the end, they’d still live just not fully, would you? If you could live just as you are, and know that you were wholly well and alive and forever free, would you?
For me, regarding this subject and reading about it is interesting. I fully believe that all are made in the image of God. That we’re all created in his likeness and that there is nothing wrong with the way each of us look. Many of the stories in this book, don’t necessarily follow to that guideline. A few of these stories, quite a few actually, what happened to the main character wasn’t by choice, but it was the card that they were dealt. I really thought about what this would mean for them and in light of my views. Even though this book is fiction, I was glad that I got a chance to think about what this would mean for my views and what I would hold to if this were a reality.
If you’ve read the Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman, you’ll love reading this book. This takes the science to heights that probably haven’t even been thought of yet. Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful was thought-provoking and insightful. It was everything that I had hoped it would be and more. I’ve been anticipating this book since I first heard about it a few months ago and I was not disappointed. This book releases tomorrow, December 4th, and I can’t wait for y’all to read it.
Arwen Elys Dayton is the author of the Seeker series–Seeker, Traveler, and Disruptor and the e-novella The Young Dead–and the science-fiction thriller Resurrection. Arwen lives with her husband and their three children on the West Coast of the United States. You can visit her at arwenelysdayton.com and follow @arwenelysdayton on Twitter and Instagram.
Blog Tour Schedule:
Make sure to check out the list of blogs below! The time and effort that they’ve put into their reviews and posts are worth it!
– Reading with Wrin
– Bookish Wisps
– Confessions of a YA Reader
– Belle’s Archive
– A New Look On Books’ Blog
– Book Tales By Me
– Here’s To Happy Endings
– Momma Got Time To Read
– Lisa Loves Literature
– A Lovely Book Affair
– everywhere and nowhere
– Sharing Inspired Kreations
– Adventures and Reading
– A Dream Within A Dream
– It Starts At Midnight
– The Candid Cover