I haven’t done one of these in a while, so I figured it was high time.
This time I’m bringing you a dystopian novel that is grounded in the real world, dealing with real issues. But I’ll get to more on that in a second.
Nicholas Conley reached out asking if I’d be interested in reviewing his fourth book Knight in Paper Armor, but due to a hectic work schedule and being behind on legit every review copy I have, I had to decline. This definitely sounds like something I would probably like, and I’ve added it to my TBR. I always feel a bit bad when I can’t read and review every book, but if you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know that I like bringing new books to your attention.
So, here we are!
Nicholas pitched me this book as:
Knight in Paper Armor, in specific, pulls a great deal of influence from my own Jewish background, but also — to be clear, upfront — the book’s dystopian elements stem directly from contemporary situations in the reality of the United States, including xenophobia, antisemitism, class inequality, capitalist exploitation, hate crimes, and similar topics, so this is definitely not an escapist read and contains many potential triggers (and due to this content, while the protagonists are teenagers, it’s not a YA book either!).
Sound like something you might like? It really does sound interesting and if I weren’t so damn busy, I’d totally be down for reading and reviewing it. Despite it being a dystopian – pretty much an automatic selling point for me – it deals with some pretty heavy topics and potential triggers for some. But wait, here’s the full synopsis:
Knight in Paper Armor – Nicholas Conley
Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others.
Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind.
When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.
I mean…regardless of the heavier topics, this sounds pretty freaking good, right? I’m all for a resurgence of SF dystopian books. Give me all of them. I also really love the cover for this. I love the cool tones and how it just grabs your eye and makes you wonder what’s inside.
I highly urge you to check out this book – especially since I’m currently unavailable to do so. For those of you who like books that are more rooted in real life, with real world issues with just a dash of the fantastic, then maybe this is for you. I really hope it is! If you do end up checking out this book, please link me to your reviews! I’d love to read them!
And before I close out this post, let me introduce you to Nicholas Conley:
About the Author:
Nicholas Conley is an award-winning Jewish American author, journalist, playwright, and coffee vigilante. His books, such as Knight in Paper Armor, Pale Highway, Intraterrestrial, and Clay Tongue: A Novelette, merge science fiction narratives with hard-hitting examinations of social issues. Originally from California, he now lives in New Hampshire.
And as a final note, thank you to Nicholas for reaching out and telling me about Knight in Paper Armor and agreeing to an Author Spotlight post in lieu of a review. I love doing these kinds of posts, whether they’re these specifically, or just recommendation posts. Mainstream tends to have the same books/authors promoted all of the time (nothing wrong with that) but I really do love being able to give y’all books that may or may not hit your various social feeds. So, if you do check out Knight in Paper Armor, please let me know! Even if you just add it to you TBR, feel free to leave a comment!