The Warehouse

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

If Amazon took over the world..... The mantra of the market dictates pervades every part of this terrifying possible future. We want cheap products delivered quickly. What are we prepared to sacrifice to get what we want? In the Cloud, we see the brutal work environment, the Draconian ratings system and how those in charge are prepared to take some very 'grey area' decisions in order to give the consumer exactly what they want. And how people are starting to fight against it. A scary world that could so easily become real.
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Excellent. I enjoyed this thriller set in the near future, where  a huge organisation has taken control of US retailing and employment. It is well described and fast paced, it reminded in a good way of ‘The Circle’. Recommended.
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I really enjoyed this book - it has a good plot with an interesting twist, enough interesting characters that you care about and are frustratingly unable to do what really want to do, and it was easy to read from the point of views of the three main characters. The premise of the story uses the worst of the current negative press that some of today's dominant corporations and projects what the world's unchecked gratification could possibly lead to if we are not careful. 
The plot really depends on the lack of CCTV installation in MotherCloud which the CEO of Cloud claims is not used for 'moral' reasons - which is possibly out of character, otherwise the story moves along at a good pace and resolves all of the questions by the end of the book.
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The Warehouse builds intrigue from the very beginning. Opening with a blog post by Gibson, the owner of the mysterious Cloud, we are then introduced to people trying to gain employment with them. As the story continues, each chapter is prefaced by another blog post by Gibson and then alternates between the perspectives of two Cloud employees, the Paxton and Zinnia from the blurb. Each has their own agenda in seeking employment within Cloud which is revealed as the story progresses.

The actual Cloud company and their internal systems are inventive and Hart has developed an excellent sci-fi/dystopian feel with the way it operates. The characters of Paxton and Zinnia are well developed and their interactions help to build the intrigue and suspense in the story. I did feel that it only really got properly going in the second half, with a lot of the first half helping to immerse the reader in the world of Cloud and what it's like to work for them, but once the story took off I was completely hooked and stayed up far too late to finish it. Look out for some well-timed and surprising twists at the end as well.
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Interesting premise but the book doesn't work for me. There's a lot of description at the expense of characterisation/action. It's a bit like reading the Cloud office manual..

Maybe events have overtaken the author but unfortunately I think the real tech companies are far scarier than Cloud!
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The Warehouse is a fast-paced, terrifying dystopian novel that could be viewed as a warning about the route we're on as society. This one will definitely make readers think. It's an intriguing novel with well-developed characters and a strong setting. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy a good, near-future dystopian novel.
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The Warehouse by Rob Hart is a frightening, all-too-close-for-comfort, dystopian thriller about corporate greed, smart cities and unbelievable technology that already surrounds (controls?) us. 

The story moved quickly (which is fitting for one of the themes – everything you could possibly desire is available at the click of a button and delivered via drones) and while many themes were covered, it was an uncomplicated read. It’s a thought-provoking novel on social issues that we face today, that will destroy this world if we continue to satisfy our own desires and ignore the discomfort of others.   

The story is told from three points of view: Zinnia - the corporate spy heroine out to fix the world; Paxton – the security guard seeking revenge; and Gibson – a dying man who believes the legacy he created has saved the world. Each viewpoint is told fairly, with sad and sometimes shocking truths. 

The three main characters were relatively well developed through the telling of alternative viewpoints, but I felt they could have been fleshed out a little more intimately. Supporting characters were well crafted too. For me though, there was another almost over-riding character and that was The Cloud itself. The descriptions of the monotonous, sterile, almost lifeless existence within The Cloud created a strong presence that invaded everything, like a weed with pretty flowers.

I enjoyed this novel immensely. I found it disturbing. I found it prodded at my psyche and my humanity and it caused me to pause and wonder and question. This is what every great novel should do. 

#netgalley #thewarehouse #robhart #randomhouse #transworldpublishers
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I found the concept of this book this a glimpse of what might easily come to pass, or is it pure sci fi? I felt the characters could have been expanded upon and, in my opinion, it would have made for a more engaging read.
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A very thinly veiled reference to Amazon and the power of this company, this novel focuses on Cloud. Where workers live where they work in the only real employer any more. It is focused on Paxton, a guy who lost his own company because of Cloud, and Zinnia, a corporate spy, who begin working at cloud together. Paxton works security and can't understand why he wants to get his rating to four stars so badly and Zinnia is a picker in the warehouse. These two begin a relationship - honestly from Pacton's side and for personal gain from Zinnia. The scary part as it seems so possible and that the author doesn't spoil the book like Vox (where women are restricted to 100 words a day) with an ending everyone may want and things sorted. It is ambiguous. Interesting and scary.
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Just imagine Amazon, Google and Big Brother have merged and offer jobs where you can live and work in peace and safety in a world where climate charge has taken its toll and little businesses have all gone under. This is Cloud, where our two heroes sign up for work on the same day. One of them works hard and gets to the core of the security department, and the other is a corporate spy looking for cracks and how to assassinate the man at the top. Now just imagine these two falling in love, and you've got a great story, well told, great pace, and you don't know which one you want to succeed right up until the end
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The Warehouse is a glimpse into a near future where a single corporate entity, Cloud, dominates the retail world.  In a climate-ravaged world of automation, high unemployment, low wages, and scarce affordable housing, Cloud offers not just a place to work but also a safe community in which to live.  Cloud is saving the USA, all thanks to one man – Gibson Wells, the self-made billionaire owner.

The new intake at Cloud includes an ex-teacher and an ex-prison guard - according to their applications, at least.  Each of them has their own reason for being there, neither of which would sit well with Gibson Wells.  Is Cloud really the safe and comfortable place to live and work that it claims to be?  Zinnia and Paxton are about to find out.

I find it hard to put my finger on what it is that this book wants to be.  Is it dystopian sci-fi, or corporate espionage thriller, or a warning of what is to come should companies like Amazon and Google continue to grow?  The premise works but is repeatedly let down by the perfunctory writing and shallow characterisation.  I enjoyed the novel, and there were many points raised which made me feel uncomfortable about the way in which we seem to be heading as a civilisation, but it just left me with a feeling that it could have been so much more. 

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a complicated book that raises all sorts of questions about the direction of retail sales around the world... as well as being a cracking good yarn about a heist/ assassination gone wrong for all the right reasons.  And did I mention the sneaky twist in the tail that blindsides you as to the ending?

There are all sorts of parallels with a certain jungle-themed online retailer who (in the book) is both a sympathetic character and the chief bad guy.  There are lots of good reasons for doing something which just looks wrong from the outside.  A couple of characters weave their way through this - not heroes or villains,  just normal people making occasional bad choices.

I can't say any more without spoiling the story - but let's just say:  it ain't boring.  And you might want to go check your local store is still there,  and give it some love if it is.  Use it or lose it people!!
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"We're hardwired for approval."
 The author,  Rob Hart, describes this as 'an issues book wrapped in the language of a thriller'. Like Brave New World, or 1984, the trends of today are extrapolated into a not resistant future to show us the society no one wants but which will be with us all too soon. And this background world provides the setting for the book.
In an overpopulated world where climate change has made continuing life increasingly untenable, where food and housing are in short supply and jobs are hard to get, one man, Gibson, has a stated mission - to improve life and turn back the onslaught of decline. And Cloud was born, an ever expanding business monopoly able to over-ride objections and provide what people want: jobs, affordable living quarters, good tasting food, cheap and fast product delivery, safety. Whatever it costs. And in growing his corporation, Gibson becomes a virtual god, worth over an hundred billion dollars.

The Warehouse follows two new employees, Zinnia and Paxton, who grow close in the vast work and living area that is the Mothercloud, as well as the thoughts and ideals of the now dying Gibson. As a thriller, building tension, it works well and the reader gets to know the characters involved, but it is the fourth, overarching character that has to take prime position in the story: the Mothercloud itself. Vividly portrayed with the minimum of description, the echoing expanses will stay in this reader's memory for some time to come.

A new S.F.classic is born. But like the others which have gone before it, it's message, too, is likely to be ignored. As the book says, 'people don't listen. It is not because it was kept from them. It's because they don't want to know...We've collectively decided that our own comfort is more important than someone else's discomfort.'

My thanks to Transworld Publishers, via Netgalley who freely gifted me with a complimentary e-copy at my request. The formatting was somewhat bizarre, which made for a less than smooth read, but the content was excellent. Highly recommended to all who enjoy corporate conspiracy thrillers, dystopian futures and every science fiction fan. It is compulsive and frightening reading, not least because it feels so close to being real
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A fast-paced, easy read but still with some depth to it. There was one OTT detail towards the end that I thought was unnecessarily gross just for shock value, but otherwise I think this was well done.
Content warning for sexual harassment (although I didn't find it gratuitous).
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I seem to be the exception and not the rule, but I didn’t enjoy this book. I think the concept is clever, but I didn’t connect with either of the characters, and felt there was little development throughout. Indeed, they often did things that felt out-of-character, seemingly just to push the story on. Similarly, the plot sometimes overcame issues/barriers with bewilderingly and frustratingly simple fixes. The setting was painstakingly built up, and a narrative almost established, but then it meandered a lot, and the ending felt a little rushed and extremely anti-climatic - almost making reading the book a waste of time. In my opinion, Dave Eggers wrote this idea much better in his book ‘The Circle’.
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Rating: 4 stars

The Warehouse is about two strangers who apply for a job at Cloud, a conglomerate company that owns just about everything. You work for Cloud, or you starve. Paxton is coming to terms with working for the company that ruined his life, and hoping for a future with Zinnia, the woman he met when he started his new security job. Zinnia is hiding things and she wants Paxton's all-access pass, and maybe something she never expected to want.

Several times, I wanted to stop reading this book. Not remotely because it was bad, but because it was scary. The Warehouse is set in the future. The very, very, very near future. I'd go as far as to say that it's uncomfortably close. Every thing that the workers at Cloud do is tracked by a Cloudband on their wrist, and I found myself looking several times at the smartwatch that I use to track everything from my steps to my schedule to how much water I drink a day. Cloud owns everything, they own the materials and the production and the transportation used to deliver items to customers by drones. Brick-and-mortar stores are dead (this was particularly frightening to read as a retail worker in quiet, rarely visited store). The Warehouse felt like a reflection of something realistic, something that is sitting right on the horizon and waiting to happen. I wanted to put this book down at times because I didn't want to think about the next forty-five years of my working life and what the world might be like by then. And that's probably what makes this such an interesting book to read. I'd even say important, because people need to be thinking about the future and what we want to see. After all, the market dictates. 

All in all, though, I'm glad that I read this. I enjoyed it a lot, when I got past the deep horror of how real it was, and the characters were whole and interesting. Paxton and Zinnia felt real and I wanted to know how things worked out for them, and the issues/thriller balance was handled really well, with enough intrigue to keep me turning pages.
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I really enjoyed this book. It is a thought provoking read. This story takes shopping and how employees are treated to a new level. It is definitely worth reading.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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This book has a unique atmosphere: set in a facility designed to give people jobs - and reverse the effects humans have had on the Earth. I have read about similar things before, however, Hart’s ideas really bring the scenes to life! He’s implemented a range of technology that’s fascinating to read about.
I enjoyed the cast of characters. All of them are well-rounded. Zinnia, especially, developed well! There’s an array of secret motives, skeletons in closets and undisclosed information; mysteries that made you want to keep reading! Rob Hart has a way of keeping an ominous tone throughout that has you on the edge of your seat!
I was let down by the ending. What held my attention was the expectation of a big reveal, but it never happened. I feel like the story could have worked better if it had a bigger twist to it. Although, I’m really hoping that Hart will be writing a follow-up novel, as the ending was surely set up for a sequel.
I would recommend this to almost everyone with an interest in the not-so-distant future.

3 / 5 stars.
**This is a shortened version of my review for Netgalley! If you would like to see my full review, it can be found here ->
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Rob Hart provides a shockingly powerful and harrowing glimpse into the all too real possible realities in our future, of a ravaged world and US, this is a contemporary dystopian version of Orwell's 1984. In this near future, there is a government, but it is of little consequence, there is a desperate scramble for jobs, any job, and towering over it all is the Cloud, a monopoly with unfettered power, a thinly disguised Amazon, a monstrous behemoth with its tentacles in every pie, such as media outlets, technology, etc.. The Cloud proclaims itself as a force for all that is good, delivering goods by drone, a presence in every city, and the perfect employer shaping the nature of work and life where employees live on site, where their every need is met by the caring Cloud. It all sounds too good to be true, and as Hart's prescient novel proves, it is in fact a horror of a nightmare that we could all too easily be sleepwalking into, the seeds of it are all here in today's world.

This is a well structured storytelling which excels in its world building, where the drudgery and monotony of working for the company is laid bare in all its excruciating details, the all encompassing surveillance, observation and tight monitoring of its employees, the lack of employee rights, the terrifying and sinister goings on behind the scenes at Cloud and the conspiracies. A disillusioned Paxton, a prison guard, who had his company destroyed by Cloud is now taken on by Cloud, working security for the company. Zinnia, another employee, she is a woman with her own hidden agenda, gravitates towards Paxton with an ulterior motive, his position gives him access to areas that she needs. The narrative gives their perspectives and that of the now dying CEO of Cloud, the man responsible for the Cloud from its very beginnings, Gibson Wells. He sees himself as man who has done nothing but good in the world, a self justifying hypocrite, claiming he is at the top of the corporate pile, thanks to market forces. Wells is a sickeningly deluded man, manipulative, ignoring and refusing to acknowledge just how the dice were loaded against anyone and everyone that challenged Cloud. Is it possible to challenge the Cloud now?

Hart lays out his compelling premise with skill, with great characterisation and character development, giving us a painstaking portrayal of a world bereft of humanity, morality and ethics. The Cloud is a product of the unquestioning consumer wanting the lowest prices, ease of delivery, the entire convenience of the process that aided the Cloud into its unassailable position. That it decimated local stores and independent outlets are the inevitable consequences of such a corporation. This is scary and pertinently relevant reading material, so thought provoking, and with some surprising twists. I admit to not always finding it an easy read, but the subject matter kept me glued to the book right up to the end. Many thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC.
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This book is thought provoking and very scary, in fact that this seems to be the way the world is heading.
I enjoyed the characters and all their points of view. I found that Gibson had tunnel vision in his pursuit of building his company, so much so he was blind to the damage he had helped do. 
Paxton was a likeable guy and I could relate to the way that some one would just except their fate and find positives in the environment he was pushed into.
Overall an interesting story. Great read!!
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