Life First by R.J. Crayton

LIFE
Life First by R.J. Crayton
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (246 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Strong-willed Kelsey Reed must escape tonight or tomorrow her government will take her kidney and give it to someone else.

In this future forged by survivors of pandemics that wiped out 80 percent of the world’s population, life is valued above all else. The mentally ill are sterilized, abortions are illegal and those who refuse to donate an organ when told are sentenced to death.

Determined not to give up her kidney or die, Kelsey enlists the help of her boyfriend Luke and a dodgy doctor to escape. The trio must disable the tracking chip in her arm for her to flee undetected. If they fail, Kelsey will be stripped of everything.

Good intentions can only carry a society so far.

The ethics of forcing people to risk their own health and lives in order to save the life of someone else is what first drew me into this book. I can’t imagine anything scarier than what happens when such selfless decisions are taken out of the hands of the people who are directly affected by them. What really kept me reading, though, are the relationships Kelsey has with her boyfriend and her best friend. Luke and Susan add nuance to the plot and give Kelsey a chance to share glimpses of the woman she was before she started running.

There are questions about Kelsey’s society that were never answered, and some of the answers to other questions were incomplete. For example, the rules about how one could legally move out of the country never quite made sense to me. Hopefully the author will explain them in more detail in the sequel because it was difficult for me to understand if those rules were widely known or if those in charge kept them quiet to prevent citizens from taking advantage of them. Other rules seemed to be applied unevenly to the population, and I would have liked to know why some characters were held to so much higher standards than were others.

Kelsey’s anxiety about being discovered while wearing a disguise also puzzled me because she wasn’t described as someone who had any identifying marks or visible disabilities that would be difficult to conceal. I understand feeling nervous about being caught, but the way in which her escape was written would have made more sense had something like this been included. With that being said, what happens to her when she tries to escape is so exciting that I forgot to eat lunch on the day I read it!

I was so caught up in Kelsey’s adventure that I started and finished this book in less than two days. Ms. Crayton took care to present both sides of a controversy that is quite similar to one in modern society without demonizing either position. I sympathized with the original founders of Kelsey’s society and completely understood why they chose to create certain rules even though I was horrified by the logical outcomes of those choices. From what I understand the author is working on the sequel now, and I can’t wait to see where she takes these characters next.

Life First is an enthralling introduction to a terrifying vision of the future. I highly recommend it to fans of science fiction and fast-paced thrillers alike.

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