Alara Tripp is sixteen. She lives in London Star, a futuristic version of London in which there is no pain, no illness and, it transpires, no emotions. London Star’s version of entertainment is immersive digital quests, something at which Alara excels.
Alara enters a contest and is mysteriously disqualified in the semi-finals. She is then sent on a secret mission to the world known as London Under, the London which existed before London Star came into being and where they have pain, disease, disability and emotions. Will she survive and which world ultimately, will she choose?
Delahaye’s book takes a little bit of acclimatisation as the premise is unusual. It encourages the reader to think deeply about what our primary emotions really allow us to do, which is to connect to other human beings. Would we really like to be emotionally numb and State-controlled to eliminate pain? What price emotional freedom? And, who should decide whose life is worthy and whose is not?