I’m still trying to figure out how this book made it onto the Canada Reads 2017 list, let alone to the final two. Don’t get me wrong; Company Town is a solid, enjoyable SF novel. It could also, if you squint, tie into the whole ‘missing and murdered aboriginal women’ controversies in Canada these days (for the Americans, this is close to being our ‘black lives matter’). It also has a look at what people would like to see for sex workers (unions, reps, bodyguards).
The central story is of Hwa, a very tough woman who is the only person in the town (an oil rig in the Atlantic) without enhancements that can be manipulated by outsiders is hired to be a bodyguard to the youngest son of the Lynch family, that has just bought the rig. At the same time, someone has started killing sex workers.
Everything chugged along until the climax. When the ultimate villain is finally revealed, I was scratching my head wondering if we’d met the character before. Completely unmemorable. And I’m still not sure just what she/he is. The whole ending, from the elevator to the last page, was rather muddle. I liked the 250 pages up to then, but the ending dropped my rating.
Far more successful was the romance subplot. Daniel was an interesting character, and they manage to work a slow move towards a relationship without Hwa wallowing in ‘why oh why would he be interested in me?’. She does have some of that, but definitely no wallowing. The heir she is bodyguarding was also a very likeable kid without being saccharine.
So, having read four of the Canada Reads 2017 book (only The Break left to go), I can firmly say, this one is the bottom of the list for me. However, as just a science fiction novel, it was a worthy read. Except for the confusion at the end.
My current rankings for Canada Reads:
1. The Right To Be Cold
3. Fifteen Dogs
4. Company Town
I still play to read The Breach, but probably not immediately. I have a number of other books to finish on a deadline. NetGalley, Library, etc.