The Ten Percent Thief by Lavanya Lakshminarayan- Book review

Here is my review of the page turning science-fiction dystopian The Ten Percent Thief by Lavanya Lakshminarayan.

Welcome to Apex City, formerly Bangalore. Here, technology is the key to survival, productivity is power, and even the self must be engineered, for the only noble goal in life: success.
Everything is decided by the mathematically perfect Bell Curve. With the right image, values and opinions, you can ascend to the glittering heights of the Ten Percent – the Virtual elite – and have the world at your feet. The less-fortunate struggle among the workaday Seventy Percent, or fall to the precarious Twenty Percent; and below that lies deportation to the ranks of the Analogs, with no access to electricity, running water or even humanity.
The system has no flaws, and cannot be questioned. Until a single daring theft sets events in motion that will change the city forever…


Lavanya Lakshminararayan’s, The Ten Percent Thief is one of those books I couldn’t stop reading- a truly impressive dystopian science fiction novel.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

High Tech Apex city is a deadly meritocracy, where everyone has their place, a place they have to earn and keep earning. If they don’t they fall down the ranks to the Twenty percenters or worse find themselves deported to the Analog world outside ( and yes, it is a very Analog world with no resources).

Read more: The Ten Percent Thief by Lavanya Lakshminarayan- Book review

I found it initially difficult to get into the book as the chapters are told from multiple points of view but when I figured out there is no main character as such I enjoyed each point of view chapter which highlights different aspects of life in Apex city.

The underlying story is how the analogs fight back and the awfulness of Apex City despite its wealth, gloss and high tech which makes everyone’s life easier.

As I said world-building is intricate and clever. I loved the idea of the richest people living on floating Lily leaves and the idea that people from Apex City send their children for a trip through the Analog world to warn them of the perils of not conforming. I felt sometimes that there were too many new terms for new tech but this is just me and it does help with the world -building.

Despite the dystopian feel, there are flashes of humour which stops the book from feeling too dark. This book is clearly set in the future but some of the themes in the book such as society and governments portray people not actively in work or needing extra as being a drain on society.

I did feel the book ended on an optimistic note with some hope for the analog and victuals to live together.

Perfect for Fans of

High tech or Dystopian science fiction

Demon of Yodok by Adria Carmicheal – Book review

A teenager is sent to a re-education camp in this realistic depiction of a dystopian world in Demon Of Yodok by Adira Carmicheal.Read my review

Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult

Series: Book one of the Juche series.

Available on Kindle Unlimited ( I borrowed the book from Kindle unlimited following a request from the author for an honest review).

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family is taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then: her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in the face of mounting evidence that he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

From goodreads

I was intrigued by the author’s note on The Demon of Jodok’s Goodreads blurb. She wanted to write from the perspective of someone who has been brainwashed by a totalitarian regime and she has succeeded. The book, written from the point of view of the main character, I think captures what it might be like to completely believe a beloved Dictator which makes her incarceration in a re-education camp all the more heart-breaking.

I found it hard to warm to Areum at the start- she does seem selfish, unsympathetic and rigid especially when her overriding goal is to leave her family and become a gymnast no matter what. But then, I found her attitude made sense once I realised this was a young teenage girl whose life and dreams are slowly being destroyed despite being a loyal subject and having done nothing wrong.

The concepts of Juche in the Choson are explained early as is the particular rules in the world that Areum lives in. The writing is crisp and sharp which suits the story.

I really hope Areum escapes in the second book!

Content warning

Attempted rape. Violence,

Perfect for fans

Who love realistic dystopia

The Sightless City by Noah Lemelson- Book review

The Sightless City by Noah Lemelson has one of the most amazing covers I have ever seen, and suits this science fiction dystopia with interesting mutants, sentient Ferral beings and humans living in a post-revolution world.

Image from amazon

Thank you Net Galley, Tiny Fox Press and the author for this e ARC for an honest review.

The striking cover caught my attention and I had to find out more about this floating, burning eye.  The story is set in the city of Huile a few years after a revolution has overthrown the Principate. Marcel is a private investigator who realises he has been used by his friends as a pawn in kidnapping troublemakers who are enslaved to work on keeping aether flowing. He wants to take his former friends down and is helped by a Ferral engineer, Sylvaine and Kayip a monk.

The world-building is different from other dystopian stories, this isn’t another variation of the earth destroyed by some man-made calamity. I really like Sylvaine, who is a Ferral, a kind of hybrid human and animal who desperately wants to prove herself as an engineer despite the discrimination she faces and will do anything to achieve this. Her story was heartbreaking but she comes back fighting. The plot races along with a dramatic climax towards the end which sets up the next book.  I was intrigued by Marcel, he wasn’t the smartest guy in the box and was a bit naïve but this was a refreshing change from the usual clever, athletic, smart men that are all too frequent and made Marcel a very human hero.

The story is a little confusing and I did have to reread a few pages to figure out what was going on. There are hints of something mystical at the start of the book and this becomes more prominent towards the end of the book but I would have liked to have known more about this a little earlier.

Perfect for fans

Anyone who loves dystopian science fiction with a touch of fantasy.


3 and a half stars- Great Characters but slightly confusing plot but will be keeping an eye out for the next part of Sylvaine and Marcel’s story.