Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: Dystopia, Thriller
Release Date: September 22nd 2016
Buy The Book: Book Depository
Should she live or die? You decide
An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body.
Now Justice must prevail.
The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV show Death is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions - all for the price of a phone call.
Martha has admitted to the crime. But is she guilty? Or is reality sometimes more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?
This was read along with my fellow members of The Book Club for our September read!
Cell 7 is set in a twisted dystopian future in which justice is supposedly placed into the hands of the public. When a person commits a crime, they are placed in Cell 1. Over the course of the following seven days, the public tune in to watch the popular show 'Death Is Justice' to follow the progress of the prisoner, learn their story, hear from experts and people involved, before then deciding whether or not that person is guilty. Our protagonist, Martha, was caught with a gun and a dead body at her feet. The body of the most well-known and well-loved celebrity, Jackson Paige. Whilst Martha moves through her seven different cells, we learn that not everything is as it seems with her story.
Firstly, let me start by saying that I love the concept of this story. The twisted justice system and the lies and deceit within it was fascinating, and it really made me wonder about they way society currently works and whether something like this could ever legitimately happen in our future. The questions is raises and the social commentary were all valid and interesting, and it was this side of the story I loved the most. Another point that I'm glad was raised was that only those who could afford to vote would be able to because the voting system wasn't free. Despite the fact that this system was placed in order to serve justice, it doesn't actually give normal people the power because it's entirely corrupted by money.
Whilst there were parts of this story that I found interesting and gripping, the plot didn't feel as original as I wanted it to. That might just be because over the past several years, I have read a lot of dystopian novels (and I mean A LOT), and maybe I'm starting to grow a little tired of them. My other problem was that I was easily able to predict all of the plot twists way before they were actually revealed, so when they finally were confirmed, it didn't have much of an impact. The predictability of the plot took away from the enjoyment of the story for me. I like to be surprised and tricked, but these twists and turns were a little too obvious.
I also found it difficult to connect with the characters. This book is told in several different ways. We follow Martha in her cell as she addresses someone she is thinking about on the outside. We follow her counsellor, Eve, and we also have chapters that are written as scripts for the Death Is Justice show. I wanted to root for Martha and to enjoy her chapters most, but the character I preferred to follow was actually Eve. I felt like I didn't get much of a chance to learn about the real Martha beyond her tough childhood on the Rises, the poorer community who live in high-rise flats built to help the housing crisis, and the love story that she was part of. The romance was another area that didn't pull me in as much as I wanted to. Whatever chemistry these characters had, I couldn't feel it.
Throughout the book, whilst we learn a bit about the history of the system, we don't actually discover the process that happened for this system to be put in place. It left me with questions as to how the society in this story reacted at first, and how people came to accept it. But since this is obviously the first in a series, I'm assuming there will be more time to answer those questions in the future.