We all know I’m a total dystopian junkie and sometimes THEY JUST TERRIFY ME. All Rights Reserved is like a crystal ball into the future and I’m like, someone get me out of this timeline.
Words matter. Words make ideas. They preserve truths and history. They express freedom and they shape it. Words mold our thoughts. That gives them value and power.
Speth is the this world’s Katniss, thrown into the role as the face of a rebellion without even meaning to. Does it cost her a lot? Yeah, starting with her (already limited) right to speech. Not free speech, oh no. That doesn’t exist in this world. This is the land where every word is trademarked, every haircut, even having window coverings is trademarked! Suing people for their debt to you for things like interrupting their day is common. Speth is living in a world where her parents are indentured as they are so far under debt that they can’t get out.
Sound familiar? Yeah, and it’s freaking terrifying.
You get till you’re 15 to speak freely, express freely, exist freely. This is ten years before your brain is even fully formed and you’re just expected to conform. Not Speth. Not after witnessing the death by suicide of her closest friend. Something in her clicks and she nopes out into a life of silence.
Can you believe they then trademark that silence? Of course you can. You’re watching the news and looking at Net Neutrality and you’re like, um yeah this is the future world so we better use our voices NOW before this becomes Earth-Prime.
Or maybe you’re like, oh this is kind of an extreme view. Are you watching the news? We are living in the extreme. Get with it.
I was completely enraptured by the story as it unfolded. Some parts had me like 😱 and some like 😤 and others like 😭. There’s some intense world building and some intense focus on characters and did I mention this book has everything you’d want in a science fiction book?
In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.
Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks (“Sorry” is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She’s been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can’t begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she’s unable to afford.
But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speech – rather than say anything at all – she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth’s unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.