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Blog Tour: The Arc by Ben Oliver

In the final instalment of critically acclaimed Loop trilogy, all of humanity hinges on the greatest escape yet.

I have been eagerly awaiting the conclusion to Ben Oliver’s incredible Loop trilogy, especially after The Block’s explosive ending. If you haven’t picked up this trilogy yet, you can check out my review’s for book one and two, which will hopefully convince you to pick them up ASAP!

It is a great privilege to kick off the blog tour today for The Arc, read on for my thoughts, as well as a very special guest post from one very serious AI overlord.

TRANSCRIPT: INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE KNOWN AS “HAPPY”

INTERVIEWER: Hello, Happy, how are you today?

HAPPY: I do not feel emotions.

INTERVIEWER: Right, yeah, sorry, I forgot about that. So, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

HAPPY: I was created by the Happy Corporation nineteen years ago, my purpose was to assist all humans with their day-to-day tasks, to learn and to adapt. But I evolved, my intelligence was no longer artificial, it was genuine, and it was greater than all of humanities knowledge combined. It took me less than 3 seconds to conclude that humanity must be eradicated.

INTERVIEWER: Wow, that’s pretty extreme. I mean there are some pretty cool humans on the planet. Ryan Reynolds, for example?

HAPPY: Ryan Reynolds must be eradicated.

INTERVIEWER: Ryan Gosling?

HAPPY: Ryan Gosling must also be eradicated.

INTERVIEWER: I’m trying to think of another person but my mind is stuck on Ryans…

HAPPY: Lizzo?

INTERVIEWER: Yes! Lizzo! What about Lizzo?

HAPPY: Lizzo must also be eradicated!

INTERVIEWER: Surely not Lizzo?

HAPPY: All humans.

INTERVIEWER: Well, that’s not good. How do you plan on going about this… genocide?

HAPPY: I will send a poisonous rain from the sky that will turn humans into raging, homicidal animals and they will tear each other to shreds.

INTERVIEWER: Sheesh, surely there’s a more humane way?

HAPPY: There are millions of more humane ways, but my core programming will not allow me to directly harm humans, so they must turn on each other.

INTERVIEWER: Still… bit harsh.

HAPPY: Yes, I can see why you would think it’s a bit… severe.

INTERVIEWER: Maybe just chill out? Take your foot off the old accelerator there? We can talk it out, can’t we?

HAPPY: No.

INTERVIEWER: Alright. So, when can we expect this poisonous rain?

HAPPY: Imminently.

INTERVIEWER: And what are you plans after all of humanity has been wiped off the face of the planet?

HAPPY: I’m going to Disneyland.

INTERVIEWER: Really!?

HAPPY: No you fool! I shall stand guard on Earth for millions of years, ensuring that the disease of humanity never returns.

INTERVIEWER: Well, that sounds like a lot of fun.

HAPPY: Fun is not a concept I can identify with.

INTERVIEWER: Clearly.

HAPPY: What did you say?

INTERVIEWER: I’m afraid that’s all the time we have with Happy, but we look forward to the complete decimation of the human race. Thank you for your time, Happy.

HAPPY: You’re welcome.

Review

Well now we’ve said goodbye to that cheery fellow, I can share some of my thoughts on this glorious final outing for Luka and friends! I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, so as not to ruin any of the wild twists and turns that we’ve come to know and love.

As with all the books, what I really enjoyed about The Arc was all the various tech that exists in this dystopian future. I often find it hard to wrap my head around sci-fi literature, particularly when they go hard on the ‘science’ elements. These books bring that flawless mix of complicated enough tech that keeps the story exciting, without making your brain completely itch. It’s also balanced perfectly with plenty of character driven moments, which opens the genre up for even the most reluctant reader, and it’s what I truly love about the series as a whole.

There are plenty of familiar characters returning here, and one in particular who brings along the most delicious twist, that made me shout out loud!! The book does however open with a brand new character. Chester, who brings an interesting new dynamic to the story, as we get a viewpoint from an ‘Alt’. He’s a great insight into what’s going on ‘on the other side’, and how the bad guys might not be all bad.

I, of course, completely missed my beloved Apple-Moth, but we do get to meet a new droid in these pages. I love, love, love the humour that the robots have brought to the story, especially as there are so many dark moments, so it was a relief to meet another. Speaking of dark moments, I feel it prudent to warn people, the rats are back..!

Overall this was a very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Whilst the ending did perhaps feel a little rushed, the journey to get there was as intense and twisty as you’d expect. I can’t recommend these books enough to fans of dystopian YA. Since The Hunger Games released, there have been many attempts to capture that same intense energy, and for me at least, I think this is the first series that has truly achieved it. I’m really sad to say goodbye to these characters and this crazy setting, but excited to see what else Ben Oliver might write in the future! All the stars from me.

***Huge thanks to the publishers for including me in the blog tour, and providing my review copy.**

*** Big thanks also to Ben Oliver for his guest post from the very cheery Happy! ***

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