“Mickey Gibbon, better known as Monkey on the streets, slipped the hood of his jacket over his head and pulled up a blue and white chequered scarf to cover his nose and mouth.
‘Who is it?’ his friend Trevor, aka Tragic, whispered. They had reached the Plaza in the centre of town; the meeting point of several brotherhood turfs and always an area to be treated with caution.”
Monkey is a pre-breeder, and only a couple of months away from graduating to breeder and moving into the male zones when his best friend, Tragic, disappears. Monkey lives in a world with no parents, women are nurturers and men are breeders, they do not live together and they barely see each other. Procreation is not for pleasure, just for purpose and Monkey is looking forward to breeding, hopefully with Angel; the girl of his dreams, and then becoming a pro footballer and living the life of luxury.
However with Tragic missing Monkey is keen to find out where his normally safe mate has disappeared to. Monkey enlists Angels help to find his best friend and the two of them discover more about the TREACLE (Training and Resources For Educating Adolescent Children in a Loving Environment) regime and the government in charge of the of their world.
For some reason I thought this book was for the younger YA market but once I started reading I know I was very wrong. Toxic Treacle is an amazing dystopia that explores stereotypes, dictatorships, procreation and gender differences, whilst throwing in death, life, love and friendship. It is an action packed adventure which will mess with your emotions the whole way through.
I loved the premise of this world where women gave birth to, and raised children on their own with no men to support them or offer any input into their lives. I was intrigued and I wanted to know what effect this would have on the society and how the world operated. What I found was quite horrific, it would seem that although in our present day society where women are still being treated unequally to men in the future fictional world in which Toxic Treacle is based seems to have gone in excess to the other direction, women seem to be in charge and men are just used for their sperm. I was infuriated with this and there were many parts of the book where I felt like throwing it. It was also a very one dimensional world where all men were the same and all women were the same.
The one dimensional aspect allowed for great growth in the story, finding out what people were like and where the “disappeared” went and why was all part of making it clear to the reader that not everyone was the same and that’s why the world was so flawed. It worked brilliantly but I felt that as the book was greatly about relationships the one dimensional nature had a slight flaw; same sex relationships were not considered in this future world at all and that’s the only thing I didn’t like about this book.
The characters were brilliant and I loved the way they grew and, especially Monkey and Angel, matured in this book. I liked the change and the depth that some of the characters had. Many of them surprised me but I can’t really go into that because it would give the story away. One that bugged me though was Eric as I didn’t like the change that came about in him, I found his and it deceptive and I didn’t trust him at all.
I really do recommend this book. It’s quite scary how this book is actually set very close to our time, I believe the year is 2040 something – it has to be later than 2041 but I don’t think the year is ever pinpointed. I can see something like this becoming a reality but not to this extent, but then again, how does anyone know what the next 20 years will bring?!
Toxic Treacle is an amazing dystopian which had me on edge the entire way through. I really do recommend it for YA readers and I will definitely be checking out Echo Freer’s other work!
Toxic Treacle will be published on Thursday, 22nd March, by G-Press, an imprint of Golden Guides Press. My copy was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book counts towards my British Books Challenge.