Repo Virtual by Corey J. White
The city of Songdo blurs the line between virtual reality and the real; a smart city designed to be viewed through a rig with all the trademarks of a corporate facade, complete with plenty of advertisements.
The population steals and hustles on the streets to survive while the Zero Corporation continues to control the world, both virtual and real.
Julius Dax (JD) is an online repoman trying to make ends meet. In need of enough money to cover a knee surgery and pay off debts, JD can’t turn down a job willing to pay fifty thousand euro. All he has to do is steal a piece of software that was stolen from the inventor.
The problem is that the tech billionaire behind Zero Corporation is the person in possession of the software and the inventor is an influencer named Kali who has created a commune to preach her disgust for the system and belief in the power of AI.
Stealing the software isn’t overly complicated with the right team but the plan changes when JD realizes the software is actually a sentient AI that could change the future of the entire world.
Neither Zero Corp or Kali are aware that the software is actually the first sentient AI in existence but they both know it’s powerful enough to fight (and even kill) for. JD pulled off the heist but now he has to bring down his pursuers to save Songdo and the world from their further influence.
There isn’t a shortage of cyberpunk heists these days which means Repo Virtual is right on trend in sci-fi publishing.
The problem for me is that it gets lost in the genre with the same old storyline: a team of rebel outcasts pull off a dangerous heist and then have to save the world from villains using tech.
The worldbuilding was weak and I struggled to understand certain scenes for lack of detail.
The caricatured villains lacked depth and I rolled my eyes at the nonsense that Kali offered up. Zero Corporation and Kali never felt like real threats.
I did enjoy the action scenes, diverse character representation, and overall atmosphere despite subpar worldbuilding.
Repo Virtual doesn’t stand out as exceptional among the recent cyberpunk releases but it’s still an entertaining addition to the genre.
Thanks to Edelweiss and Tor.com for providing me with a DRC in exchange for my honest review. Repo Virtual is scheduled for release on April 21, 2020.