REVIEW: KOKO TAKES A HOLIDAY / AUTHOR: KIERAN SHEA / PUBLISHER: TITAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Five hundred years in the future and the world is a very different place due to disease and environmental disasters. Koko Martstellar lives and works on one of the resorts on the manufactured Sixty Islands. Having left her mercenary lifestyle behind, she now spends her days running a brothel full you of young male prostitutes, drinking a type of alcohol called Beauty and sunning herself in the warm climate.
The Sixty Islands are set up as a pleasure resort, any sick, dangerous or twisted perversion you fancy can be found somewhere, so Koko isn't too surprised when a couple of Kongercat re-civ ilk walk in and start causing trouble. She handles it like an old pro, gunning them down, burning their bodies and letting the wild lizards clean up the blood. But before she knows it, Koko is to be incarcerated and if not compliant, terminated. Obviously there must be some mistake but when Koko protests she's flatly informed that the orders come from the top, straight from her old pal Portia Delacompte herself.
Why would the one woman Koko counted as a friend turn against her after all they'd been through together? Then Koko realises, it's exactly because of all they've been through together.
Koko Takes a Holiday opens with the script of a television advert to promote The Sixty Islands, making a strange and slightly disconnecting start. That is then followed by a brief section, written from the perspective of Koko's boyfriend/favourite prostitute, in a phonetic Jamaican-esque style. If you can see past this rather uncomfortable beginning you start to get into the computer game style action and violence.
A male character is later introduced who is suffering from a disease called Depressus, a fatal form of depression. This interesting notion is never fully explained, as although it is described as fatal, it seems to be only because the sufferers kill themselves... but only because they've been told it's fatal. It's hinted at being a conspiracy but the lack of any real detail leaves the reader more infuriated than engrossed.
This novel will possibly appeal to older teens or young men who are looking for something light to and easy to get their teeth into. Hardened science fiction lovers will most probably find it slightly lacking. You feel no real emotion or tension for the characters or situations. The unusual and interesting setting of The Sixty Islands is left behind very quickly for a duller environment, which was a real shame. A number of women may also feel a disconnect with the novel as it does come across as a sexed-up male image of tough women who can survive the toughest conditions and carry out massacres but fall apart when it comes to babies.