The Warehouse

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Sophie’s next book was The Warehouse by Rob Hart. Set in an undefined but seemingly not-too-distant future where global warming has made large swathes of the planet uninhabitable, The Warehouse imagines life if a single company took over around 99% of all global retail and its CEO became effectively deified.

That company is Cloud and is not at all based on a popular store named after a South American river… Cloud is so huge that it operates out of enormous Mother Cloud complexes which include housing, transport, hospitals, retail, and leisure for the thousands of workers living there. Paxton and Zinnia are two new recruits at an unidentified Mother Cloud facility. Paxton is the former CEO of a small company that sold his own invention but was put out of business by Cloud. Zinnia wants everyone to think she’s just an ordinary young woman working on the picking floor when she’s really anything but. With Paxton assigned a job in security, Zinnia spots an opportunity, but as she begins to develop real feelings for him, Paxton is having his own doubts about Cloud’s methods.

Interspersed between Paxton and Zinnia’s increasingly overlapping stories are blog posts from dying Cloud CEO Gibson Wells and transcripts from Cloud commercials and corporate videos (many of these reminded Sophie of the Cyberdyne Systems video that ran in the pre-show before the Terminator ride at Universal Studios). While the book was fairly predictable in terms of big corporate entity = bad, using the CEO’s perspective to show the good Cloud are doing helps blur the boundaries between good and bad. Are Cloud’s practices truly terrible if they result in some positive repercussions?

The Warehouse leaves behind a lot of questions (both in terms of the plot and things to think about) and Sophie would recommend it to anyone concerned about the growth of mega-corporations, and especially to those who aren’t concerned at all.
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I'm a huge fan of dystopian thrillers and books about evil corporations... so this was a perfect combo!

The synopsis reminded me of The Circle by Dave Eggers and I definitely think if you enjoyed that you will enjoy this. The book focuses on a company called Cloud which has become so powerful it has taken over pretty much every industry, Those lucky enough to work for the company enjoy food and shelter while the rest of the world succumbs to climate change. There's lots of mysterious and devious goings-on, as you can imagine, and we follow three perspectives as the company's secrets surface.

I enjoyed the story however it did drag in parts. There was no huge reveal and there were some key elements of the story I didn't see the point of, There was nothing in particular that gripped me but I did enjoy the characters, especially Zinnia who was brilliant. I also respect the author's inspiration and reason for writing the book - it really makes you think about the 'gig economy' and how workers in certain industries are treated by their employers.
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Paxton makes sure that he isn't last in the queue when it comes to joining the staff at Cloud. During the application process his attention is drawn to another applicant, he later finds out her name, Zinnia.

Zinnia isn't intending on staying at Cloud for too long, but then neither is Paxton. Just long enough to achieve their targets and move on.

Cloud is massive, a conglomerate corporation running warehouses across the country. Everything is provided on site, no need to leave. Just make sure you work hard and keep your scores up, you don't want to drop off the bottom of the list.

Zinnia needs to find out what makes Cloud tick, whereas Paxton wants to get his inventions patent through so he can sell it to Cloud and live a comfortable life in uncomfortable times.

Clouds founder is dying, he is touring the warehouses for one last time. Paxton wonders if he will get to meet him, Zinnia doesn't want Paxton anywhere near him.

Cloud is meant to be the ideal societal environment, but some people always have to bend the rules, so there are people to police and control things. Paxton and Zinnia both get to see the inside of Cloud, with all its dark underbelly on view. 

A realistic scenario, very believable and well constructed. It could become reality, you never know. One thing I do recommend is, not eating anything during about the last 20% of the book, as there is a bit of a shock there.
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A brilliant, if disturbing, dystopian thriller!
What will the future hold for us, with climate change becoming ever more a part of our lives, capitalism taking over every part of society and big business pushing out the small, local businesses? Well, The Warehouse looks at all of these things in a near-future dystopian thriller.

The Cloud rules pretty much everything. We learn of its genesis from one of the narrators: Gibson. He is the founder of The Cloud, and built the business up from nothing. He is nearing the end of his life, and he has decided to blog during his remaining weeks as he visits all of The Cloud installations in the US.

Paxton used to have his own small business, but after The Cloud takes his product and sells it at a much cheaper price, his company folds. He finds himself without a job, home and money. So he decides to go and work for Cloud. Those who work there, live on site in small apartments. The children of workers are educated at Cloud schools, workers are entertained on site, and there are restaurants, shops and cinemas - all within the Cloud ‘town’. There is no reason to ever leave these huge towns (it reminded me of the Victorian models of towns built around coal mines or factories- the owners would provide accommodation near to work, so that there would be no excuse not to go to work. If you lost your job, you lost your home.).

Zinnia also gets a job at Cloud at the same time as Paxton, but she has an ulterior motive for being there. She’s an undercover spy for a competitor, and she has been given a job to do by someone that she’s never met.

Capitalism does not do well out of this book. It’s like the author has taken the idea of capitalism to its furthest point to show us what will happen if we and our governments continue to give big business the freedoms and money that we do. Every aspect of the workers lives is monitored through a wristband that they must wear at all times. In my e was no way that these people could ever imagine that they were free. They weren’t. Accidents at work were brushed under the carpet, as were assaults (sexual and physical), and drug dealing. Everything was done to the advantage of The Cloud.

I really enjoyed this, and it not only entertained, it gave me food for thought. What would our world be like bereft of humanity and morality? Well actually, I think it would be pretty much like living in The Cloud facility! And the thing is, it’s all perfectly plausible! This is a great read.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Bantam Press for my copy of this book to read and review.
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As a person employed in the increasingly fragile bricks and mortar bookselling trade, I have my own axe to grind about the almost world domination of a certain online retailer. Consequently, I felt honour bound to read this fictional critique of the world of globally powerful organisations that control, monitor and manipulate our shopping habits. I absolutely loved this clever and inventive thriller set in the world of Cloud, that bears more than a passing resemblance to the all powerful corporations currently strangling free enterprise, and consumer choice across the globe. Within the Cloud all workers are monitored, corralled and totally controlled, so although they have the dubious honour of a job where millions don’t, Hart constructs an interesting analysis of this grand manipulation of the workforce, and how easily these people can find their services dispensed with. Indeed, this world that Hart has constructed is scary in the extreme, as elements of it already exist in certain workplaces, and to be honest some of the other indignities that the workers suffer are all too easy to imagine coming to pass as the years progress. As each layer of scurrilous corporate behaviour is revealed, Hart has produced not only a tense, nerve shredding thriller, but a damning indictment on the world of big business, that will strike a chord with most people I’m sure who care about the evils of certain areas of global capitalism.

However, before you begin to think that this is all a bit preachy and big business bad, free enterprise good, Hart has actually produced a damn fine, unsettling and nerve shredding thriller, that will appeal to most readers of dystopian fiction. This is Nineteen Eighty-Four for contemporary times, whilst not losing the thrust of the thriller form, with action, suspense and pace beautifully controlled throughout. Both Paxton and Zinnia are compelling characters, and I really liked the way that Hart builds their relationship and depicts their sharply contrasting experience of life within the Cloud. Zinnia’s militancy is superb from the get go and she is a total firebrand, set against Paxton’s slowly growing awareness of the suppression of the corporation, and the ethical dilemmas he proceeds to do battle with.  This is certainly one of the most tightly plotted and clever dystopian thrillers that I have read for some time, and a grim reflection on the all too recognisable power of the virtual retailing world. Highly recommended.
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Brilliant! A gripping read which had me hooked from the start. A dystopian vision of the near future which is oh so believable, picking up current obsessions and trends including climate change, online retail and mega monolithic companies taking over our every move. Together with two compelling central characters, this makes for a chilling but addictive read.
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Delectably-created Amazon world, dystopia with irony.

How can you resist? A world where to live outside is to bake and burn, where sales have caused riots so bad they are commemorated yearly to mark the dead... a society and world gone mad? Most people are after a job with Cloud, an Amazon-esque company that seems to be everywhere, can get you anything, has subsumed all smaller businesses (à la Buy N Large in Wall-E). And most importantly allows you to live and work in an air-conditioned gigantic indoor city, spending your earnings inside of course. Paying for every extra with your credits.

Relished this. The story follows two new recruits to Cloud, on their way to testing and interviews, both keen to become employees for very different reasons. Paxton is there out of desperation, and has burning resentments simmering. Zinnia is there undercover, with particular targets to accomplish.

The world Hart has created is very nicely hinted at, and so easy to imagine from the snippets we get:
(An advert for Cloud) "'There are no bookstores or libraries in my neighbourhood. It it weren't for Cloud I wouldn't have any books at all.'"
"We all remember when the New York City subway system finally fell apart. That city has never been the same since."

The world inside Cloud too is all too real, and as someone with a relative who has worked for Amazon, sounds very familiar - the long walks from item to item, time targets to meet, credit rating system, time-consuming security checks to leave... someone has done their homework.

Loved the story as well, as Paxton and Zinnia's 'missions' become entwined and the Cloud founder (a Steve Jobs-a-like?) also becomes a key player in the plot. There's also a superb little knife-in-the-back twist at the end reminiscent of a modern classic film, but I won't offer any spoilers or clues.

A rather dark dystopic story, black humour, and all too possible. Highly enjoyable but also a little bit frightening... in how close we already are to this slightly sick society.

With thanks to Netgalley for providing a sample reading copy.
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Life at the click of a button: it’s all so easy. Few of us can resist the lure of online shopping, and the result is dead and dying high streets, closed shops and failed businesses - some of them household names for a century or more. 
The Warehouse is a warning of where we might be heading, where our addiction to cheap goods, immediate delivery and instant gratification ends. The Warehouse is set in a climate-ruined world, where all competition has been vanquished and only one company, Cloud, rules supreme. This is the final destination when zero hours contracts are the norm, and quadrillionaire employers are allowed their head, un-regulated, non-tax paying, unaccountable. 
Cloud (I think everyone will be able to guess which company/s are being satirised here) stands alone. There are no other businesses - or none that matter. There are very few places outside Cloud to work or live in any safety or comfort and competition for jobs is fierce. The Cloud runs on low wages, long hours and un-paid overtime. Cloud’s semi-captive employees live, eat, play, sleep and shop only within the company. Everyone lives in fear of falling back, getting slow, getting sick, losing their rating, losing their job. It is, I suppose, a dystopian tale, but an all too believable one, and not so very far removed from where we are now, and the direction we are heading.  
The story is told through the eyes of two employees, Zinnia and Paxton. Zinnia is not your average worker, and her mission drives the plot. Paxton is a gentler soul; he is the heart of the story, and the man who asks the questions. Punctuating the narrative is the man himself, Gibson Wells, CEO of Cloud: a man whose ambitions extend way beyond retailing; there are definite shades of Elon Musk in the character of Wells. But Wells is dying; taking one last road trip around his empire, he tells his story, his legacy. Wells’s narratives have little to do with the fast-moving plot but they are key. At first, his homely style, his apparent need to do good in the world make him a sympathetic character, but as his narrative develops, we see the hard-nosed capitalist emerge, the ruthless attitudes and devotion to profit, something that becomes important when the three characters finally come together for an extraordinary denouement worthy of Orwell, or Charlie Brooker. 
The Warehouse is undoubtedly an important book, but don’t let that put you off. It’s also a clever, fast-moving, page-turning thriller. Wonderfully paced and plotted, with delicious twists and an unexpected ending, it kept me reading late into the night, well after my bedtime.  
The end is not quite the end. Beyond the acknowledgements - the bit most of us skip - is ‘a letter from the author’. Do read this. It details the author’s inspiration and is an important part of the story. I, like most people, have never heard of Maria Fernandes, but she was central to Rob Hart’s inspiration and now I know her tragic tale I can’t get her out of my mind. Hart says he ‘wanted to write an issues book wrapped in the language of a thriller. I wanted to pay tribute to my literary heroes, like Ray Bradbury and Margaret Atwood and George Orwell and Ursula K. Le Guin, who used stories to examine social issues and warn us of the things they saw on the horizon…’ He has certainly done that. The Warehouse is a tense and masterful thriller with heart and soul, a social message and a warning to us all of how laziness and complacency can so easily destroy our world.
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Welcome to The Warehouse – a company that encourages its workers to become a part of the family. With housing, medical facilities, entertainment and food all in one place for workers to enjoy it seems like heaven to so many but what shady activities are lurking beneath the surface?

As a lover of books such as ‘The Circle’ and tv series such as ‘Black Mirror’, I was so excited to get the ARC for The Warehouse by Rob Hart. The blurb really pulled me in and got me excited and I was not left disappointed!

The worldbuilding in The Warehouse is first rate – I really got absorbed into the company of Cloud and what it was like to work there. I loved the way the narrative shows you exactly how a company could have been allowed to be as all-encompassing and powerful as it is. I liked the references to ‘historical’ events such as The Black Friday Massacres and how everything felt so close the reality it could be happening, or close to happening in our present day. I really enjoyed the way that the chapters of the book were broken down into themes – starting with a speech from the founder of the company, which then tied into a chapter from each of our protagonists who each have very different agendas. Of course, the similarities to actual companies such as Amazon could not be overlooked and the author explains the points he was trying to convey in the afterward which he succeeded in doing.

I felt I sympathised well with both the main characters of Zinnia and Paxton and I enjoyed their narratives. The book is nicely paced and never feels like it is overloading you with new information or intentionally alluding to secrets – everything is discovered at a good pace and the climatic conclusion is a really great ending to the book.

Overall The Warehouse is one of my Kindig Gems for 2019 – go and pick up a copy and see why! Thank you to NetGalley & Random House UK – Transworld Publishers & Bantam Press for a chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Set in a near future where the environment is ravaged and consumerism reigns supreme, we meet Paxton and Zinnia as they attempt to begin a new life at a Mothercloud facility, a warehouse of mega proportions belonging to an eerie monopoly that has gained influence and ownership on everything from education to healthcare to the food people eat.

Cloud is bigger than cities, bigger than government, it has swallowed and decimated towns to the extent people scavenge and starve while its owner grows ever richer. Stripped of identity, choice, even fresh air, the employee-citizens are told it is all for the greater good.

Chilling, uncomfortably cloth to the truth and a sickening glimpse into the god-like status we give to corporations rather than independents, this should be treated as a warning arrow into the hands of all it’s readers.

“We’ve collectively decided that our own comfort is more important than someone else’s discomfort, says the author in his acknowledgments.” Reminiscent of giants such as Amazon, Google and the like, this is a compelling dive into how apathy, shrugged shoulders and lemming mentality could lead to our own self destruction.
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This book is a dystopian masterpiece, this book is gripping and you could almost see this as a scenario for our future. The character is well written and I found their personality shone out and I personally felt connected to Paxton during the time I was reading this book I found myself in a similar situation of losing my job and being made redundant and this book really helped me see the bigger picture.

This is my first Rob Hart book and it won't be my last this book was amazing to read and I really wish I could have read more I loved every moment being inside the warehouse thank-you
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Most people are of the opinion that near monopolies in any type of business are a bad idea, although that seemingly stops few from taking advantage of the perceived positive combination of lower prices and greater convenience offered by certain big retailers over small stores. Fortunately, from my point of view, we’re not yet in a position where our choices are too severely limited in what we buy from where. There’s always the worry that the balance might tip until we all suffer in (mostly) unforeseen ways, and that’s what has happened in this near-future dystopia, where one company provides the solutions to all consumers’ needs and is also the only source of employment and affordable accommodation for a vast number of ordinary workers. Against their better judgement, Paxton and Zinnia are about to become two of those workers, assuming they can survive the selection process at Cloud.

Cloud is the brainchild of Gibson Wells, a company which can deliver everything and anything by drone to consumers across the United States from a vast network of warehouses – or MotherClouds – in which goods are handpicked by employees, who live on the premises, along with all the various technical, security, service, and management teams required to keep the facilities running. Now Gibson is dying and is attempting to visit as many MotherClouds as he can, while the public awaits his announcement as to who will succeed him as CEO of Cloud. Paxton, meanwhile, is a former prison guard, who was briefly successful in marketing an invention of his own, until Cloud forced him to lower his price to the point where his business was no longer viable. Running out of options and with nowhere to live, Paxton joins a busload of other desperate people hoping to get hired at their closest MotherCloud.

On his journey, Paxton meets Zinnia, who tells him she is a former teacher in similar circumstances to Paxton’s. Changes to the school system mean that fewer staff are required and so she’s hoping for a job with Cloud. That’s not the real story. Zinnia is an industrial espionage expert, charged with finding out just what Cloud is really all about and what lies behind the discrepancy behind the company’s apparent green energy credentials, since the available evidence just doesn’t add up.

As Zinnia and Paxton move through the recruitment process, start their assigned roles, and begin a relationship with each other, we learn through following them, and reading Gibson’s public blog posts, the true horror behind Cloud. The secret of what goes into the burgers is bad enough (not quite on a level with Soylent Green, but very close), but the regimentation of people’s lives within Cloud and the restrictions and deprivations faced by ordinary people outside, as well as the manipulation of consumer’s emotions and fears in the wider world, is a more subtle warning of what might be to come (for us as well as for them).

This was a very thought-provoking novel. The author was very careful to make clear that Cloud is not quite based on any one big employer in our current reality, while also pushing home truths many would like to avoid about how cheap, readily and rapidly available, goods can only come about at a detriment to the welfare of others. I also liked the subtle references to past authors’ concepts of seemingly civilised dystopias. Definitely a book that will give up more revelations on subsequent readings.
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The Warehouse, Rob Hart's latest novel, is a truly thrilling dystopian fiction masterpiece that is terrifying and gripping all at once; primarily because the near-future it depicts is all too plausible in nature. It centres around a powerful corporation that effectively holds the world in its hands as well as the future of the whole of humanity. The Cloud can treat its staff (who both live and work at the facility) as badly as they like knowing they have the monopoly on jobs thereby making the employees extremely vulnerable to the deeply dark, disturbing and nefarious business's goings-on.

This happens to be the first book I've read by Mr Hart and my first apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic thriller of the year which has left an indelible and unforgettable mark on me. I am mighty impressed with the author's attention to detail as not a single thing is left to chance and the plot is exquisitely constructed. I also feel it'll appeal to more than just science-fiction fans as it reads like a thriller with more twists and turns, danger and deceit than you could shake a stick at. What takes this from 4-stars to 5 for me is the fact that usually in a story such as this the author must sacrifice the plot a little in order to sufficiently develop the cast or skimp on character development to focus on making the plot fantastic, but, here, Hart manages to do both with considerable and impressive aplomb.

The characters are three-dimensional with many different facets and layers to their personality and not simply good or bad as in some books; in this way, they reflect us humans. The Warehouse is most aptly described as akin to one of the scariest horror movies; you're finding it rather disturbing and its hitting close to home yet you cannot stop reading - even if it's from between your fingers. A modern classic in the same vein and just as relevant and horrifying as Orwell's works and Soylent Green. These were meant as warnings, not manuals. Many thanks to Bantam Press for an ARC.
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Intelligently written, and for the most part, disturbingly plausible. This novel is part thriller, part dystopia but not in a traditional sense, and it’s all the more interesting for it.
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Paxton never thought he’d be working for Cloud, the giant tech company that’s eaten much of the American economy. Much less that he’d be moving into one of the company’s sprawling live-work facilities.

But compared to what’s left outside, Cloud’s bland chainstore life of gleaming entertainment halls, open-plan offices, and vast warehouses…well, it doesn’t seem so bad. It’s more than anyone else is offering.

Zinnia never thought she’d be infiltrating Cloud. But now she’s undercover, inside the walls, risking it all to ferret out the company’s darkest secrets. And Paxton, with his ordinary little hopes and fears? He just might make the perfect pawn. If she can bear to sacrifice him.

As the truth about Cloud unfolds, Zinnia must gamble everything on a desperate scheme—one that risks both their lives, even as it forces Paxton to question everything about the world he’s so carefully assembled here.

Together, they’ll learn just how far the company will go…to make the world a better place.

Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business–and who will pay the ultimate price.

Every year I find myself reading a handful of near-future science fiction novels, and the best of these are the ones that seem the most plausible. The Warehouse by Rob Hart falls squarely into this category. Welcome to The Cloud everybody, the one stop shop for all your needs. Cloud employees don’t just work there, they live within Cloud facilities. In a world where governments are crumbling, and the environment may be hopelessly broken, you can still be guaranteed a steady pay-check and a roof over your head. That is as long as you are prepared to work hard and follow all the rules.

Paxton has been ground down by the world. He briefly glimpsed the chance of success only to have it slip from his grasp. He has reached rock bottom and The Cloud is his only option. This is his last chance at making something of himself.

Zinnia couldn’t be more different than Paxton. Her employment at The Cloud is driven by something far more cutthroat. Zinnia is an expert in industrial espionage. She has been tasked with infiltrating The Cloud and retrieving some highly sensitive information.

The longer both protagonists are exposed to the company the more they find themselves buying into the The Cloud lifestyle. Perhaps everyone working for one omniscient uber-organisation is the way of the future. Maybe the mega-corporation deserves the benefit of the doubt. Everything in Cloud land seems so shiny and positive and full of hope. Is it possible that the CloudBurgers™ available in all the facility food outlets really are the best burgers you have ever tasted?

There are also chapters written using the voice of The Cloud’s owner Gibson Wells. Imagine Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Bill Gates merged together into a single being and you’ll be thinking along the right lines. Spinning his own line of homespun philosophy, Gibson comes across as a genuine soul. He wants to make the world a better place and reckons the best way to do that is by letting the market dictate what the people want. Of course, it’s not as simple as all that. Gibson has more than a few secrets. The Cloud isn’t nearly as wonderful as everyone has been led to believe and its owner may not be quite the benign presence he portrays.

Like many people, I have concerns regarding the intrusive nature of larger corporations and technology in our everyday lives. I swear my Alexa is paying me far more attention than is entirely necessary. I find however, that I am powerless to resist the relentless march of progress. I’ve even reached the stage where I have smart lightbulbs in my home. If I told ten-year-old me that in the future Wi-fi enabled lightbulbs would be a thing I suspect there would have been a certain amount of disbelief. Young me would probably also want to know what Wi-fi and the Internet are now that I think about it. Tech like this has become so commonplace, we’re all using it. Convenience is the new norm. Every day we become more and more accepting of companies knowing everything about us and everything we might want or think we need. Hart’s novel drills right down into these fears and is a far more insightful experience than I expected it to be. Picking apart everything from modern consumerism and the politics of the capitalist, to environmental issues and the nature of family. I’ll admit I was more than a little surprised by how much it left me to think about. I’ve always felt that the best fiction should not only entertain but inform. The Warehouse manages both tasks effortlessly.

As an aside, shortly after I completed reading the novel, I purchased a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale via Amazon. Read Rob Hart’s novel and you’ll discover just exactly how important that particular purchase, from that particular vendor, is. Honestly, there is a really good reason.

We live in a world where convenience is king, I’ll admit I find that as useful and reassuring as the next person. The only thing we need to remember though is that if we let things go too far, convenience and comfort replaces freedom and individuality. The Warehouse is a timely reminder that we should never take anything for granted. Part techno-thriller, part pitch black satire, The Warehouse is going to appeal to anyone who has ever worried about big business and the increasing trend of living in a disposable society. I always enjoy being caught up in a story and then experiencing that moment of realisation that it all sounds like it could be frighteningly real.

The Warehouse is published by Bantam Press and is available now. Highly recommended.

My music recommendation to accompany The Warehouse is the soundtrack to The Circle by Danny Elfman. I figured the music from a movie that features a social media company that is a bit more sinister than it seems to be is a perfect fit for a novel that explores similar themes.
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I don’t know where to begin with this review, I have sat on it far longer than I should as I just didn’t know what to say to describe just how amazing it was.
This is one of the best dystopian thrillers I have ever read, and frighteningly possible. I’ll simply encourage you to read this and then you can see what it was that totally blew me away. 
5 stars just aren’t enough.
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An advanced copy of this book from Random House via Netgalley which is appreciated but I guess is one of the scariest books I have read in a long time and I got through it super fast to find out who the instigator who employed Zinnia was.  The writer has created an amazing if scary read and I would like to think that the premise is wrong for the future but I would not bet on it.  I have always wondered what the future would hold for our young generation and I really hope it is not as bad as described.  Paxton and Zinnia bounced off one another really well, she playing it cool and then him doing the same.  The life they led in such a closed environment with no outside would be difficult and I get the feeling from the book that people accepted their lot as the alternative is not worth considering.  The book makes you feel really seriously about what global warming, ghost towns and general unrest would be like at this moment in time and again I do hope this is so way into the future as to never happen.  The writer has a fascinating take on the corporate world far better that the average person and the synopsis at the end makes interesting reading.  A great if scary read
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There are several fictional new releases with the premise of Mega-corporations contributing to the demise of society and the rise of Orwellian 'utopias'.  The Warehouse is a standout in this genre.  I couldn't put it down and it is one of my favourite reads of the year. It is a fascinating read, well written, engaging and will linger with you long after you have finished reading.  Hart's depiction of the mega-corp cities with their surveillance techniques, behaviour manipulation, propaganda and censorship is eerily accurate.  This isn't the future, this is happening now.
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In this dystopian world, there has been a widespread collapse of the economy, taking all Government services and a lot of jobs with it. Cloud is still thriving, however – so its employees are hugely grateful for the accommodation, medical services and meals that go with the job. Surely working hard in return makes it a reasonable bargain…

Hart uses three protagonists to demonstrate just how the system works – Paxton, whose own small firm was squeezed out of existence by Cloud, who also took over his own nifty invention for a pittance; Zinnia, who has been employed as an undercover agent; and Gibson, founder and figurehead of Cloud, who has his own reasons for reflecting upon his life’s work.

As I continued to read, I felt a chilly recognition. I happen to be a historian by training and one of my study areas had been the early Industrial Revolution when runaway capitalism stripped workers of any rights and turned them into foundry-fodder. It took years of grinding poverty and degradation before workers in this country were able to band together and win back the dignity of a fair day’s wage in return for a fair day’s work.

Without any kind of political spin or widening the scope of this story, Hart skilfully depicts what happens when there aren’t any checks and balances on any large conglomerate where the profit margin is the sole goal. I couldn’t put this one down as the plausible chain of events led to a state of affairs that seems unstoppably to be just over the horizon. And neither can I forget it. I find myself less enthusiastic about online shopping, these days. The ebook arc copy of The Warehouse was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.
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On the surface, an excellent story, although I did find the ending seemed a little rushed, hence four stars.   Before that, the book had been absolutely fascinating, although somewhat chilling and terrifying.
It reminded me of a 1984 of today, with a touch of Soylent Green (but not quite so awful, just a little disgusting!).  However, overwhelmingly you get the feeling that this is so very pertinent to life today and so plausibly real for the near future.  
This was definitively one of the most thought provoking books that I have read in a long time, and I read many books.
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