Arianna is a brilliant young doctor whose clinic becomes suspect by the DEP and Trent is sent undercover to expose her suspected crimes. But when Trent falls for Arianna, he begins to have a crisis of conscience. Should be working for the DEP or against them?
LIVING PROOF only partially works for me as a dystopian thriller. It's very plot driven and has a few nice twists, but it's very, very heavy-handed in its pro-science/anti-religion agenda.
Arianna has MS and is in a race against the clock to find the cure that will save her life. She comes out and says: “[The DEP] is evil to prefer me to die, and the millions of people like me.” (P 177 ARC version). Because the DEP has the power to prosecute based on legislated morality (life begins at conception, therefore stem cell research is murder according to the DEP), they are Arianna's enemy. Fine. I get that she would feel that way.
But she rails against all religion, saying, “I believe that following your own happiness is what life is about. What makes religion so bad is that it condemns you for caring about exactly that.” (p 155 ARC) When Trent (who starts out as a very religious character albeit with a few doubts), seems to question his own faith, Arianna tells him: “Your only sin was belief [in God] in the first place.”( P 155 ARC). The other religious characters are portrayed either as God gangsters or as simple-minded fools. How about a little nuance?
In my opinion, it also suffers from its very narrow focus. How many people in society are personally affected by what's going on in fertility clinics? Yes, it's a moral issue, but it's hardly dystopian. Much more interesting to me would have been to explore the other agency that has the power to fine pregnant women if they dare to take a sip of wine or smoke. It is mentioned a couple of times, but stays very peripheral.
LIVING PROOF is available now. Find out more about it at the author's website.
FTC disclosure: ARC from Amazon Vine