Book Review – Unlocked

Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's SyndromeUnlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The half-life between story of the century and not even the story of the day is quicker than you would ever guess.”

This book is the prequel to Lock In by John Scalzi. It was included at the end of my copy of Lock In, and I’m glad that I read it second to the other book. The world building is so exquisite in Lock In that this would have drawn away from that. Too many secrets, too soon.

Unlocked focuses on the stories of those dealing with Haden’s disease in the first days, weeks, and years of the infection. Lock In is twenty years on, so this gives so much insight into what happened, and how the world ended up the way it is in the main novel.

This is told in alternating chapters from different characters, predominantly medical personnel, as they tell the tale of the epidemic from their own perspectives. You also get huge insight into the First Lady of the US that the disease ends up named for. While she is mentioned in Lock In, it’s very much in passing, and here we get to see her story more fully fleshed out. The drama and trauma of it are very interesting – I really enjoyed this part of the novella.

This is a fun read if you enjoyed Lock In. I’d suggest reading it second to the main novel. I am still hopeful that this will turn into a full series, as I can’t wait for more from this world!

“Attempting to use a biological agent against your enemy while avoiding its effects on you is like trying to use a grenade by holding onto it and hoping all the shrapnel flies in the direction of the person you want to kill.”

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