AUTHOR: Suzanne Van Rooyen
GENRE: Dystopian Cyberpunk
PUBLISHER: Divertir Publishing
What do you get when you combine a dystopian setting with genetically enhanced soldiers, drug-trafficking and a cynical detective? Dragon’s Teeth. Although the title of Suzanne Van Rooyen’s debut novel may incite images of characters from a fantasy book, there are neither dragons nor elves between the pages. Instead, we are launched into a world of robots and synthetic food, where having imperfect genetics is a crime, plastic surgery is the norm and no one remembers what the sun feels like on their skin.
Dragon’s Teeth is divided into three parts. Part I follows Cyrus, a private detective and occasional drug dealer who yearns for a time when alcohol was made by fermentation and genetics was only a scientific study. While Part II seems completely unrelated to Part I, it instantly caught my imagination. Part II follows two genetically engineered soldiers in a military camp as they come to realize that they are being fed nothing but lies. But it is Part III, which ties the first two together with a dark, twisted plot that truly makes Dragon’s Teeth shine.
Overall, Suzanne’s world was intriguing, but not thoroughly fleshed out. While most debut authors make the mistake of writing too much, I think Suzanne wrote too little. As a stickler for detail, I found myself wanting more scientific explanations and more world-building. There were fantastic sub-plots that I wanted to explore in depth. Part I, II and III had enough substance to flesh out into a full-blown trilogy. And while that is an endorsement, it is also a complaint. Dragon’s Teeth piqued my interest and kept me entertained, but it did not stand up to its full potential.
Suzanne Van Rooyan has an epic imagination. Pick up Dragon’s Teeth if you’re hungry for cyberpunk, dystopian scenarios and post-apocalyptic landscapes. You won’t be disappointed, but you may be left wanting more. The material is suitable for both adult and young adult readers, but it is obviously aimed towards an adult audience.
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