Book Review: Panacea >Build 1.0 by Charli Drever

Good morning! I’m coming to you with another incredible indie book review. I’ve been so excited to read so many indie books lately, so I hope you’re enjoying all these indie reviews! There’s just a certain kind of life that is breathed into indie books that really makes me smile. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you take a look at our chat on diversity in indie publishing that we had on Bookish Brews. Indie authors are pushing so many boundaries in publishing right now, so this chat was so insightful!

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Title: Panacea >Build 1.0
Author: Charli Drever
Publisher: Self-published
Publication date: September 7, 2021
Genre: Cyberpunk (what is this?), fugitive thriller, science fiction

A gripping speculative fiction of a near future decaying London

At a glance: Twenty years in the future, London has stagnated and decayed. It’s up to this group of teens to dive deep into the center of the country’s politics to change the world.

  • 🏳️‍🌈 Large LGBTQ+ Cast
  • 💭 Speculative Fiction
  • 📖 Couldn’t Put It Down
  • 🤔 Thought Provoking

Read this if… you love cyberpunk, if you’re ready for some hard-hitting speculative fiction, you love a dystopian vibe, but with the hope of a better future!

Diversity Representation: Pansexual protagonist, lesbian protagonist, bisexual major character, transgender man major character, non-binary minor character

Content Warnings: Mild Drug Use, Mild Language, Racism, Anxiety Disorders, Violence & Graphic Injury, Death, Police Brutality, Threat of Deportation

Book Review

Stunning, impressive, brilliant, eerie, realistic, dark, hopeful, and full of heart

Panacea >Build 1.0 is really the perfect book for Bookish Brews. When Charli approached me to read and review this book I was absolutely thrilled. I mean, not only does it have diversity, but it makes so many social comments it was an absolute delight to read. I was rooting for the Panacea the whole time and for the unlikely group of friends that came together to make a difference.

Quick Summary: In the near future, London is crumbling. From police brutality and over militarized augmented soldiers all around the city to electricity curfews and revoking the right to higher education for certain people, London does not look how we had hoped it would. This unexpected group of teens may not be who we might have picked to help, but they have a plan to change the world, and it’s called The Panacea.

This book is a brilliant statement on so many issues that plague our world today. Every single piece of this world that made it so terrifying to the reader is not as “far away” or “unimaginable” as we try so hard to believe. If this is to be set about 20 years in our future, I did not find it hard to believe that the government had placed restrictions on how much electricity certain people are allowed to use. I did not find it hard to believe that the government would be “sending back” immigrants, even second-generation immigrants. I did not find it hard that certain people would be stripped of their right to higher education. Everything that we have built and all the progress we have made is being held up because we are staying diligent, but what happens if we loosen the reigns? Could the world really look like it does in this book? It isn’t as outlandish as we try to convince ourselves, and that is such a stunning balance that Charli Drever created here. Amazing.

Aside from the incredibly believable, complex, and shocking world-building, I adored the character development. An unlikely group of teens get pulled into a plot to save the world, and along the way they grow and learn to care for each other. I loved the discussions between the characters, and how delightfully open everyone was to listen to each other. When teens get thrown into politics and have to work toward a future bigger than themselves, it’s so refreshing to see them be able to work together in such an open way.

Summing it all up

Panacea >Build 1.0 is a brilliant new cyberpunk debut that I couldn’t put down. The characters are full of heart, and so is the story. Gripping and realistic, this world will pull you in right from the start. Panacea is both action-packed and character-driven, this stunning debut by Charli Drever doesn’t hold back.

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Book Club Questions:
Panacea >Build 1.0

  • What are some policies that you could see changing right now that would lead to a world closer to the one depicted in this novel? How outlandish does it seem? Does everyone agree?
  • How do you feel about the idea of a plan like the Panacea? How do you think the Panacea could succeed? Is there something that we can do now to work toward the Panacea?
  • How did you feel about the cast of characters? Did any of the characters teach you something? What did you learn from them? What did they learn about themselves that was significant?

About the Author

Charli is a speculative fiction author of novels and short stories from the UK. They are a designer and copywriter by trade and have been writing in one form or another since childhood. From those first attempts at cringe fan-fictions as a teenager, Charli now creates rich, satirical and fearless worlds. Inspired equally by Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Ursula K. Le Guin and Kurt Vonnegut, as they are by science fiction video games, indie graphic novels and fantasy television, Charli’s tapestry of influence is as broad as it is unique, and it shows in their work.

Let’s chat!

What was the last anti-establishment book you read?
Did you notice how this was also on my Cyberpunk List?
What I mean by that is, did you add it to your to-read list yet!?

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Want More Diverse Book Recommendations?

Check out the rest of my blog! I’m dedicated to sharing books with you that include diversity, so feel comfortable that any books on Bookish Brews will include some diversity.

If you liked this review or thought you might like this book, check out some of my other reviews for books with similar anti-establishment, social topics & clever moods:

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Added to my TBR: Panacea >Build 1.0!! It looks so good!

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*I received this book for free and am leaving this review voluntarily*

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