REAP3R by Eliot Peper

Rate: 4.5/5

Medium: Audiobook/ebook (ARC)

Overview (No Spoilers):

In keeping with the theme of his other novels, Peper explores the ramification of groundbreaking technological advances when wielded by unscrupulous individuals, especially when legal regulations are racing to catch up. The questions Peper raises in REAP3R  will linger long after finishing the last page.    

Human Capital is a powerful organization that invests in brilliant and influential people by providing the money and connections to allow these dreamers to exponentially advance their fields. These leaps in knowledge are poised to revolutionize life, though at what cost? Built on promises that seem too good to be true, the cracks in Human Capital’s moral façade begin to emerge, especially as this company goes to extreme lengths to protect their investments. Can Luki, Devon, and Geoff somehow extract themselves from their deals with the proverbial devil before their passion projects are twisted for nefarious intent? Even as dark secrets come to light, a greater danger lies waiting in the shadows should Human Capital discover their plans.

REAP3R is quintessential Peper, as he sets a breakneck pace from the very first scene, keeping the reader actively glued by ratcheting the suspense with each subsequent chapter. With only a few days elapsing over the bulk of REAP3R, Peper quickly constructs a vibrant world in the near future that has been ravaged by a deadly virus. While the technology and scientific leaps are fascinating in REAP3R, the spotlight falls brightly on the distinct cast Peper creates. Depth and complexity are easily layered through key interactions and connecting so many of the characters, ultimately provoking the reader’s curiosity with the secrets that haunt them. Additionally, we are granted access to the complicated mind behind Human Capital and the company’s deeper motivations. This insight serves to add humanity to the antagonist, while simultaneously accelerating the suspense by knowing his pawn moves ahead of Devon and the scientists. Peper juggles the many perspectives by volleying between characters, and changing the vantage point during crucial situations, amplifying the fast paced nature of this dangerous adventure.

Overall, Peper delivers yet another thought-provoking technological quandary in REAP3R that he seamlessly pairs with a high stakes espionage sequence fitting of any thriller adventure.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • Once Luki leaked the information about Q, what happened to the rest of his employees? What about his parents?
  • Who was Kai working with to design the glasses? They reminded me of a trippy psychedelic drug, which led me to ponder if VR could eventually be its own, non chemically inspired drug. 
  • While I loved the addition of the glasses they became a bit of a convenient crutch to save the day. Not only was harp able to hack them and lead Devon to safety, but she was also able to broadcast all of the secrets while Geoff, Luki, and Devon were waiting for Sansome. 
  • Was the first assassin, Walter, in the last shoot out? It doesn’t seem like his kind of hit.
  • Peper often makes passing references to his other novels so I try to keep an eye out for overlaps, however in REAP3R I only caught one with Devon mentioning Lynn Chevalier. I can’t help but be curious with what links I overlooked.
  • REAP3R references Walter Isaacson’s da Vinci and Steve Jobs’ biographies, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. In this context Peper hits on a topic I’ve often discussed with friends regarding how our generation could easily become a ‘lost’ voice due to our heavy reliance on a digital medium to capture our day to day lives and correspondences. For example, Isaacson had more material to draw for his research on da Vinci in contrast to Jobs.
  • Geoff would use Terry Pratchett’s Discworld as an escape from everyday life. I have to admit, I’ve seen so many references to Discworld that I really need to add this series to my TBR list.
  • I have a lot of love for my home state of Michigan and get so excited when it unexpectedly pops up in literature. Peper bases his novels mostly in California, in particular the Oakland area, needless to say I loved when Marquette, Michigan snuck into REAP3R for a particularly tense and memorable scene with Paul.
  • How will Isabella hunt down the creators of REAP3R? Who created this software for Human Capital?
  • I can’t fathom the fallout from both Luki and Geoff’s revelations, especially with how influential Human Capital is!

Vocabulary Builder: 

Ephemera: something of no lasting significance

Vim: robust energy and enthusiasm

Staid: marked by settled sedateness and often prim self-restraint

Qubits: a unit of computing information that is represented by a state of an atom or elementary particle (such as the spin) and can store multiple values at once due to the principles of quantum mechanics

Oubliette: a dungeon with an opening only at the top

Abeyance: a state of temporary inactivity

Shill: to act as a spokesperson or promoter

Pinniped: any of an order or suborder (Pinnipedia) of aquatic carnivorous mammals (such as a seal or walrus) with all four limbs modified into flippers

Zeitgeist: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era

Liminal: of, relating to, or situated at a sensory threshold : barely perceptible or capable of eliciting a response

Ineffable: incapable of being expressed in words

Accouterments: an accessory item of clothing or equipment

Profundity: the quality or state of being profound or deep

Eponym: one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named

Insouciantly: lighthearted unconcern

Campanile: a usually freestanding bell tower

Equanimity: evenness of mind especially under stress

Arboreal: of, relating to, or resembling a tree

Vicissitudes: a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance : a fluctuation of state or condition

Bourgeois:  of, relating to, or characteristic of the social middle class

Panopticon: a circular prison built with cells arranged radially so that a guard at a central position can see all the prisoners

Palimpsest: something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface

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