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Goodreads rating: 3.91

Paperback, Published in Jul 2016 by Penguin Random House

ISBN10: 0552569070 | ISBN13: 9780552569071

Page count: 472

What happens when society wants you banged up in prison for a crime your parents committed?

That’s the situation in which Ant finds herself – together with her little brother Mattie and their foster-parents, she’s locked up in a new kind of family prison. None of the inmates are themselves criminals, but wider society wants them to do time for the unpunished ‘heritage’ crimes of their parents.

Tensions are bubbling inside the London prison network Ant and Mattie call home – and when things finally erupt, they realize they’ve got one chance to break out. Everyone wants to see them punished for the sins of their mum and dad, but it’s time for Ant to show the world that they’re not to blame.

A new nail-bitingly taught YA suspense thriller, from author of the bestselling ITCH series, Simon Mayo.

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SocialBookCo User Reviews

Maricar Mara on 09 Oct 2016
“Dystopian futures in fictions is a powerful set-up for a story. Since they usually mirror our own world they easily create a sense of reality making them relate-able. Add the sense of broken world or threat to the survival of humanity then they become engaging and thrilling read. And if the story create awareness or raised questions the better. Just like what Simon Mayo did in his latest novel, Blame.

Blame easily a successful dystopian read. It is relate-able, engaging, thrilling, thought-provoking and even horrifying at times. It's a chilling view a possible future we can have if we are not careful with our choices.

In Blame, heritage crime - a law that allows government to punish the current generation for their parents and grandparents crime is implemented in many parts of the world including United Kingdom where Ant and her brother Mattie lives. They were sent to Spike, a jail reserved for families convicted of heritage crime. Ant and Mattie are serving prison for their birth parents crime. The parents who abandoned them long before the law was implemented in their country. Their poster parents Gina and Dan are also with them at Spike, both serving prison for the unpunished crime of their own parents. Government demands them to pay for past crime committed by their families, blaming them after all the chaos caused by great depression.

The idea of a society too caught up in blaming which resulted to the implementation of "heritage crime" and making the younger generation pay is an interesting and unique concept for a story. Not only it raised questions and thought-provoking ideas about crime and punishment but it also open the mind of readers to future possibilities. Because like it or not, sending entire families to prison is not entirely impossible. Actually if we omit some of the legalities, things like this may be actually happening somewhere. It just so happen that Simon Mayo presented it in this book in a brutal and much larger scale.

Ant's story laid out real issues that's possibly facing by some countries. It is an honest representation of few of societies problems that if not handle well can result to what happened in this fictional world. Corruption, red tape, power abuse, propaganda, biased news or media brainwashing are just some of the few things that exist in almost every goverment or society if not all. They are real problems that can cause huge damage like what happen in this fictional version of United Kingdom. A damage we can only hope not to happen in real life.

Right from the start readers will get caught in Ant's story with her raw and no non-sense voice. Her tough and rough personality makes Blame a thrilling read. Add the danger of prison life, gangs and prisons rivalry, corruptions, politics, and other dirty and gritty things of a world centered in dark times, readers will surely get caught in tangle of all those webs. Simon Mayo hold no bars in shoving readers to Ant's dangerous world. And by doing so he created a realistic world " one that easily allow readers feels all the dangers and chaos around it.

Simon Mayo even added a language or words used by inmates " slang words to communicate or call someone and something. It's a simple touch that makes things more believable and reading more engrossing. There's also Mattie's notes at the beginning of each chapters which shows how an innocent child like him see a world centered in crime and punishments. While flashbacks inserts which mostly from Dan and Gina's son Max's point of view give readers the side of someone who escape the blame and the view of the outside world.

Ant as the main character is easy to root for inspite of all the bad things she had done. She is tough and brave. Hardened by her surroundings and corrupted by bad people and worst conditions, she easily become a victim of drastic life. A child who grew up fast because of all the tough things that life thrown at her. But her love for her younger brother Mattie makes all the difference. She's a sister who will do anything and give anything for her little brother. Even the impossible things like shielding him in a dark world they are in.

Mattie is the exact opposite of his sister. While Ant is hardheaded and always find herself in trouble, Mattie is the reasonable one. He is a smart kid who remain surprisingly sweet and innocent inspite of his surroundings. He is the only person who can tame his sister. The only opinion that matters to Ant is his. Without Mattie Ant will be totally lost for sure. He is the one who keeps Ant grounded and still saveable.

Overall, Blame is pensive, action-packed and tension-filled read. Simon Mayo successfully weaved a dark and disturbingly realistic world that will make readers think and dreaded the possibility of its existence. It will makes you question things, the government, laws, corruptions, or just humanity in general. Let just hope this won't happen in real life.”

Vivian Unger on 28 Sep 2016
“Blame is a near-future dystopian novel set in the UK. Following a global economic depression, public anger focuses on those who benefited financially from embezzlement, fraud or other crimes. The people want revenge, but in many cases the perpetrators are dead or can't be found. So attention turns to their descendants, and the concept of "heritage crime" is born.

As Abie (a.k.a. Ant) explains it: "People don't like us, Mattie, you know that. Outside it's because we 'got away' with it for so long, because we had this great life we weren't supposed to have... It makes them feel better if they can blame us for everything. They used to blame black people, refugees, Jews, immigrants, whatever. Then they ran out of people to point fingers at. So now it's us."

Ant, her brother Mattie, and their foster parents Gina and Dan, are all found guilty of having criminal parents, and are put in one of the new "family prisons" in the UK. Their chief tormentor is Assessor Grey, the man who spearheaded the family-jailing movement. He also dreamed up the cruel strap that bolts onto the backs of these "heritage criminals" and prevents them from walking normally. The resultant gait gives them the nickname "strutters."

Ant is a rebel and unwilling to keep her head down until her "debt to society" is paid. She's looking for a way to escape, and not a moment too soon, as conditions are deteriorating, not only in their own prison but in the prison full of actual violent criminals, which, awkwardly enough, connects to their prison via a corridor.

Bizarre circumstances ensue, leading to Ant and her brother finding themselves on the lam with a gang of other strutters. In order to survive, they must commit some minor crimes-a reminder that when we label people as bad, fairly or not, and repeat it over and over again, they tend to oblige us by becoming so.

Other improbable things happen, and it all culminates in a bonanza of triumphant improbability. People who demand realism in their fiction may not be happy with this book. On the other hand, readers who can suspend their disbelief will find it a breathless ride. It is, in fact, much like a Hollywood thriller.

It's also thought-provoking. One is tempted to dismiss the novel's central conceit as something that could never happen in our allegedly enlightened society. But look at what's happening in the world today. Even well-off people are ready to see themselves as the victims of Syrians, Mexicans, etc., who come from other countries in search of a better life. A Trump presidency seemed a laughable impossibility to many just one year ago. Blame is popular right now. The Bible itself gives us a precedent for heritage crime, saying "The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation" (Numbers 14:18).

One of my favorite things about Blame is its sprinkling of foreign languages. Ant and Mattie are half Haitian and sometimes speak Creole to each other. A Creole nursery rhyme that serves as a metaphor for their condition comes up in a couple of places. Creole is a fascinating mix of French and something altogether different.

Another language that comes up in the book is German. Germany is the only country in Europe without heritage crime laws. They have learned from their history and no longer give in to the temptation to blame a group of others for their problems. Thus German is seen by the strutters as the language of freedom. Strutters dream of immigrating to Germany.

Finally, the strutters have their own slang, a glossary to which is provided at the beginning of the book. The author appears to take a special interest in languages. I'm curious to see if he plays with languages in his other novels.”

Rosemarie Herbert on 15 Sep 2016
“Ant and her brother Mattie have been incarcerated for crimes they never committed - it's called heritage crime, and because the authorities couldn't catch their parents, Ant and Mattie have to serve the time. There's certain perks that the neighbouring crime jails don't have, but also other dangers.

Ok, so another reviewer has pointed out that the novel is filled with predictable character types. I think that's certainly true - plucky heroine protecting her too kind brother and tolerating the hatred of a foster brother who blames her for his parents' fates. However, I didn't find it offputting. It gave me more space to think about the implications of the novel, rather than having to do too much thinking about the characters.

That being said, there were a couple of twists that I didn't see coming. Amos, you idiot! Ant, how did you think that was a good idea? Mattie, were you even thinking at all? Completely clueless.

I'm not sure how I felt about the ending. Why would a big piece of information like that be stored in that particular inaccessible place. Surely there are safer places to keep it? Anyway, just suspend your disbelief and be carried along anyway.

Now this novel knocked my socks off. I couldn't wait to keep reading it, and see where they went. Unlike Cell 7, I liked the characters are there was plenty of action to keep me entertained and worried - particularly as it seemed as if some of my favourite characters would die.”

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