Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The End of Marking Time by C.J. West

Title: The End of Marking Time
Author: C.J West
Genre: Suspense, Dystopian
Publisher:  22 West Books
Publication Date: 22 May 2010
ISBN: 9780976778844
Stand alone or series: Stand Alone
Pages: 284 pages
Book Received from: Author
First Lines: I wasn't surprised when the Plexiglas partitions shot up out of the floor and locked me in front of this window.

I'm Michael O'Connor.  You know that.  You know I started stealing cars when I was fifteen.  And you know I've been burgling houses since I was twenty.  But did you know my mother threatened to kill me?  She put a gun to my head when I was thirteen because I stole a lousy can of peaches.  She tried to shoot me when I was fifteen, so I ran and never went back.  Wendell didn't tell you that, did he?

He's giving me this chance to talk to you, but he's doing everything he can to set you against me.  He brought you here at 3:00 A.M so you'd be exhausted and impatient.  He's hiding you behind the window so I can't tell if I'm getting through.  He probably even blamed me for the Supreme Court ruling that let all the convicts out of prison.  Believe me, I'd gladly go back to a cell if it meant freedom from the lying counselors and that evil black box.

I'm going to tell you my story.  Please listen.  Please press the green button.  I deserve another chance!

My Thoughts:
Michael has made his living stealing cars and breaking and entering houses.  He's done it eversince his mother held a gun to his head and he took off.  In all that time he's only ever been caught a couple of times, until he picks the wrong house and is caught again after he'd been set up.  On his way to prison, the bus is highjacked, and Michael wakes up from a coma four years later to find that prison is no longer exists, and in place criminals go into re-education.

Right from the beginning I warmed up to Michael.  The writing is told from first person and I think that played a big part in why I liked him.  I could almost understand his reasoning for doing the things he did (Not that I agree with it) and the way Michael tells the reader his story, I felt included.

I was amazed at how much thought went into the program that Michael get's put on.  He has to watch so many hours of interactive dvds as well as numerous visits from counsellors etc, and right at the start he does try to cheat the system.  It's funny because you can almost see where this is going to go, and because Michael is going back over the story he's told, he also includes things like, 'I didn't understand what he meant then.  Now I do of course.'  You can almost hear the regret in his tone for the choices he's made throughout.

The End of Marking Time is a brilliantly written novel about what life could be like with a new system for criminals and how others react.  Just watch out for the twist in the end :) 

Fave Line:  'He said I was unable to contribute to society without making major changes in my life.  The first change he made sure of - a change of address.  He sentenced me to five years.'

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