Review of dystopian thriller Omniscience by Janine Frances
A family seek refuge in the Australian outback as tyranny takes hold, but who can they trust?
The world is at war and an authoritarian government has taken control in Australia. A terrorist group known as Day One is attempting to destroy civilisation so humanity can start again.
Shareen Miller gets caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare when she’s detained by an Auto-Enforcer for not having the right travel permit on the way to a job interview. Shareen’s detention sets off a chain of events that lead to her five-year-old twins being taken by the government.
With her husband Daniel, grandmother Alma, and sister Layla, Shareen seizes her children and escapes from the city. On the road, she reveals a secret about her missing mother Veronica that she’s been hiding from her family for five years.
What follows is an intense journey into the harsh Australian outback where nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted.
As they fight for survival, Veronica’s family finally learn the truth about why she left them. The stakes couldn’t be higher as the future of humanity hangs in the balance.
Excerpt from Omniscience
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Miller, but unfortunately, you won’t be able to take your children today.” His tone was perfunctory, as if he was informing her that her favourite brand of toothpaste was out of stock. “Once they’re in the system, they have to be assessed fully. This can take several days or longer based on the complexity of the case. You will be interviewed―”
“Wait a minute,” she said, leaning forward so that her forehead was pressed against the barrier. This couldn’t be happening. “My grandmother was told we don’t have permission to live at her place, but that’s not true. I have it right here on my iD. I can show you.” She lifted her wrist.
“That won’t be necessary. Even if it is a mistake, we need to follow protocol. If you’ll just be patient, you should see them again soon.”
“We don’t need to follow protocol because we’ve done nothing wrong.” She took a deep breath. “I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m not leaving without my children. Either get them now or get a manager out here.”
He sighed dramatically. “I’m afraid I can’t do that. The best thing you can do is go home and wait until we notify you. I’m sorry you were called in unnecessarily. We take child protection very seriously, and there’s no special treatment for anyone, not even you.”
Review of Omniscience
This was definitely a thought-provoking read. I haven’t explored much in the adult dystopian realm, so it was a bit refreshing to get the collapse of society without a teenage girl wondering which boy to kiss. Okay, I gest, but seriously, this was something new for me, and it just might lead to me exploring a whole new area of thrillers.
The society was oppressive, and that’s putting it mildly. I found it both fascinating and terrifying to read about. I did like getting a glimpse of life under the regime at the beginning, but at the same time, it felt like that part of the story lingered for just a bit too long. The trek into the wilderness felt like it came late, and I kept waiting for it to show up. I do hope this is a series. I’m interested to see what comes after this ending. At the same time, this could conceivably stand on its own, but I also feel like there’s a lot of loose ends without a second installment.
There were other elements that felt like they came into the story late. I’m really not sure if mentioning them would be spoilers or not, but my review would feel incomplete if I didn’t note them. They really feel like they should have been a bigger part of the story and, thus, able to be discussed without feeling like I was giving away something. I wish the escape from the city had come earlier.
All in all, I absolutely recommend this. I’m walking away with lots to think about, and while the pacing bugged me a bit, it wasn’t near enough for me to say this isn’t worth reading. I recommend this for dystopia fans, those wanting to see parents as protagonists, and anyone who’s interested in some new takes on technology tropes.
About Janine Frances
Janine Frances lives in the Hunter Valley, Australia with her partner David and dog Banjo. She loves reading thrillers and decided to have a go at writing her own.
Janine chose to write a speculative thriller because it’s an exciting genre that asks important questions about the future.
Janine Frances will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.