Henry Kyllo is a member of a secret society called the Inferne Cutis. A Runner whose goal is to achieve full-body lead content. He is chased through the city every day by Hunters whose goal is to shoot the Runners — with the threat to both sides that if they do not participate, through a mysterious force no one understands, one of their loved ones will simply vanish from the face of the earth.
Rumours abound about what happens when a Runner achieves “ascension”, but it has supposedly never happened before, so no one knows for sure.
Except that it has happened before. And it is happening again. This time, to Henry Kyllo.
It’s very much like Maze Runner but the runners aren’t kids and their respective hunters are fellow humans who shoot the crap out of each other. The protagonist, Henry Kyllo, more often than not finds himself waking up in the hospital than in his own bed – being treated for his various gunshot wounds is also the only time when he gets to see his girlfriend, Faye. Luckily for Faye she’s unaware of Henry’s nightly activities and rightly so because after each ‘reincarnation’ (so to say) Henry appears more machine-like than before.
This seems fine and dandy until one bullet too many and one run too much wakes something up in him; Henry mistakenly kills the person trying to kill him and as a result is gunned down on the sidewalk during one of the novel’s ‘runs’. His faithful friend, Milo, is beheaded as well. This time, however, when Henry wakes up the lead content in his body transforming him had accelerated, turning him into the thing he had a good hindsight to be wary of; a humanoid hybrid machine. Things get interesting when a couple of other runners take up arms against Henry in an attempt to seek vengeance for their recently murdered boss.
The story itself is actually pretty good: Henry is constantly plagued by the physical and mental changes he undergoes, failing to get a grip to what’s really happening such as the consequences of his actions and other sentimental things, there’s a voice nagging him on the inside of his head to just snap and kill everyone he sees – an urge he fails to clamp shut the first time. As the reader journeys along with this human machine hybrid you begin to really see how Henry desperately clings to the last vestiges of his humanity and mortality, even running into a train at some point to end his life because he doesn’t want to become an object of terror.
With an expansive ending that leaves you thinking about who the true fabricators are of this evil, there’s an inkling that perhaps Henry’s fate was already predestined. If not, what else could there be to have changed the outcome of the events foretold in the novel?
Stop reading this and go grab your copy!
A Perfect Machine hits shelves on February.
I got this awesome book in exchange for my unbiased and honest opinion.