Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review: Future Shock, by Elizabeth Briggs

Future Shock
(Future Shock, Book 1)
Elizabeth Briggs
Hardcover, 272 pages
Albert Whitman & Company
April 1, 2016
Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Book Synopsis: What do you do when the future is too late, and the present is counting down to an inevitable moment?

Elena Martinez has street smarts, the ability for perfect recall, and a deadline: if she doesn’t find a job before she turns eighteen, she’ll be homeless. But then she gets an unexpected offer from Aether Corporation, the powerful Los Angeles tech giant. Along with four other recruits—Adam, Chris, Trent, and Zoe—Elena is being sent on a secret mission to bring back data from the future. All they have to do is get Aether the information they need, and the five of them will be set for life. It’s an offer Elena can’t refuse.

But something goes wrong when the time travelers arrive in the future. And they are forced to break the only rule they were given—not to look into their own fates. Now they have twenty-four hours to get back to the present and find a way to stop a seemingly inevitable future—and a murder—from happening. But changing the timeline has deadly consequences too. Who can Elena trust as she fights to save her life?

The first book in an unforgettable series about rewriting your destiny in the city of dreams.

This novel drew me in right away because it combines two of my favorite genres -- science fiction, and young adult fiction. Besides, I love the very striking cover! So, right away, my expectations soared for a great reading experience!

I'm very happy to say that I was not disappointed in the least. Briggs delivers an exciting, riveting tale with wonderful characters and non-stop action. At the same time, she skillfully weaves in social commentary, as well as philosophical speculations about the nature of Time, into the plot, without being in the least bit boring. She even includes romance and a mystery -- some of the teen characters have been murdered in present time, something they discover when they travel to the future. So, in addition to their mission, they must also attempt to solve this mystery, so as to prevent the murders from taking place.

The world-building is totally awesome, due to its intricate detail. It's entirely believable, as well; the author's extrapolations from today's technology are indeed very plausible. I was especially impressed with the developments in future Internet technology Briggs envisioned. They were also rather scary, as they reflected an increasing intrusion on individual privacy. Unfortunately, I can see them happening within a span of less than 30 years -- perhaps 10 or 15, instead.

The whole setup of this story is just incredibly fascinating, as well as addictive. The characters are thrown into the future with very little preparation, other than the vague instruction to get information about future technology. From there, they basically have to wing it. The reader is never certain that they will manage to survive, as well as alter the inevitable course of their own lives. I was totally unable to put the book down, spending every available moment on it, driving relentlessly forward until I finally finished it.

Briggs's narration is very descriptive, very visual. The whole novel unfolded before me in a series of mental pictures. In fact, I would love it if this book were to be made into a movie! I would definitely be one of the first people in line! 

Briggs has wonderfully brought her characters to life. She is really able to get into their heads so perfectly that we think and feel what they do. This is a great author's crowning achievement, and Briggs can definitely be categorized as a great author!

The female protagonist, Elena Martinez, is just the sort of underdog character I LOVE to see triumph in the end. Born with a photographic memory, she feels like an outcast everywhere she goes. I immediately found myself relating to her because of this. Adding to her appeal is the fact that she's Mexican, a foster kid who has already seen too much of the rough, seedy side of life. What's really great about her is that she's a scrapper. She's willing to fight for what she considers right, and will just not give up. Beneath her outer toughness, though, there's a very sensitive, very intelligent young woman who is determined to not let her previous sad experiences get the best of her. She's the one who emerges as the leader of the group of teens sent into the future. Her determination, resourcefulness, and courage end up saving the day. In fact, the whole plot really hinges on her. Of course, she's not perfect, but she realizes that she needs to work on her flaws. Her good qualities, though, more than compensate for these flaws. I just can't say enough great things about her!

Adam O'Neill, the brilliant young scientist who falls in love with Elena, is also a wonderful character. He hides a great sorrow in his life, which is his motivation for joining the time-travel mission. He's such an understanding person, especially with Elena. Right away, he's able to see beyond her rough exterior to her inner vulnerability. At no point in the novel does he talk down to her, or attempt to control her in any way. He respects and admires her, becoming her staunchest ally as the novel progresses. Even when he seems to have betrayed her, Elena still trusts him, just because of his innate goodness. I also like that he's a very down-to-earth guy. He never brags about his intelligence, or even about his future scientific accomplishments.

The romance between Elena and Adam is very sweet, although, in this first novel of the series, it's not developed very far. That's because the mission, and the solving of the mystery central to the novel, take priority. Since there are more books to come, I'm sure Briggs will take this relationship further. Still, there is some sizzling passion in this first novel!

The secondary characters were fantastic, as well! Sometimes, such characters can actually make a novel less enjoyable. That's definitely not the case here! Chris, Trent, and Zoe come across as such vivid, likable people! Chris and Trent were antagonistic toward Adam at the beginning of the mission. As the plot developed, however, it was really wonderful to see how they, along with the other three teens, really pulled together, and started working as a team. I especially liked Chris, because of his sincere concern for the future of his son. As for Zoe, she was a talented artist, so right away I liked her, too! She was pretty shy, and yet, was nevertheless willing to go beyond her comfort zone in order to help the group succeed in their mission. I initially liked Trent the least, but in the end, he turned out to be a pretty good guy.

Another great thing about this novel is that Aether Corporation, the technology company behind the time travel experiment, is not described as a ruthless, uncaring entity, interested only in profits. Their scientists are realistically portrayed as regular -- although brilliant -- people who make mistakes. Some of them might be in it only for the money, but not all of them fit this cliché. 

Overall, I was thoroughly delighted with this novel, which I know I will re-read sometime in the near future! It's really got everything -- romance, a very detailed future scenario, mystery, and nail-biting suspense! I'm SO anxiously looking forward to the release of Future Threat, the next installment in this very exciting, amazing series!! 


Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Sociology, currently mentors teens in writing, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She's the author of the new adult Chasing The Dream series and the recently released young adult novel, Future Shock.

Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of fluffy dogs.


  1. Wonderful review and you make me so glad I've grabbed this already for my Kindle. I'm glad you enjoyed this so much and now I really look forward to reading it!

    1. Hi, Barb!

      Oh, thank you so much for the compliment!! I LOVE writing reviews, especially when they're positive. Can you tell? Lol.

      This book is just SO amazing!! I got totally immersed in the story, and was SO sorry when I came to the end, as I had fallen in love with all the characters. Thank God Briggs is continuing the story in further books!! Not only is she publishing "Future Threat" (Book 2) next year, but there's a third book coming up, too, titled "Turute Loss"!! YAY!!!!

      In short, I know you'll love this book!

      Thanks for the lovely comment!! :)

  2. This does seem interesting. A new spin on a theme that I don't know that much about! Just to let you know, I've mentioned you as one of my favorite bloggers on my 100 celebration post! Here's the link if you want to have a look!

    1. Hi, Mareli!

      Oh, this is a VERY interesting book, believe me! I agree that the plot is very original indeed. I know you'll enjoy reading this book, if you decide to plunge in!

      Thank you so much for including me in your post, as one of your favorite bloggers!! I'm truly honored! I'll go check it out!

      Thanks for the overall lovely comment!! :)

  3. What a great review, Maria! I am really interested in giving this book a try. It sounds like something I would really enjoy. I love underdog characters and strong world building.

    1. Hi, Wendy!

      Oh, sorry I had not replied to this comment, but I just hadn't seen it.... :(

      Anyway....THANK YOU so much for the compliment! Yes, I enjoyed this bbok immensely, and think you will, too!!

      I'm slso very glad to hear that you, too, love underdog characters and strong world-building! Heck, those were the very ingredients that made Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling household names!!

      Thanks again for the nice comment!! :)


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