Tears in Rain
Rosa Montero
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Buy *Tears in Rain* by Rosa Montero

Tears in Rain
Rosa Montero
431 pages
November 2012
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Madrid, 2109. Technology has advanced greatly, but life is much the same as before: a struggle to get enough money to live. More advanced technology comes with a price, too: clean air is a commodity which has to be paid for, or you will be forcibly relocated to a zone with air that can make you sick. Many people struggle to find work and have to live on the street. The world Rosa Montero creates has clearly been inspired by the movie Blade Runner, but it has differences, too: this world has aliens, and humans have built floating platform into space.

Bruna Husky is an android. She and her kind--also known as replicants, reps, technohumans, and technos--have ten years to live before they die of Total Techno Tumor. TTT is a painful way to die: tumors grow inside the android's body until it collapses. Bruna has four years, three months, and twenty-nine days remaining until TTT will set in. Originally, the replicants were created to be a slave race, to do all the dirty or dangerous things humans did not want to do. Even now, when replicants have been given rights, many humans fear them.

Bruna is a combat model and served her required two years in the military. After that, she started to work as a private detective. She lives alone, miserable in her loneliness and conscious of the fact that her lack of family and childhood makes her fundamentally different from the humans around her. She is obsessed with counting down the remaining days of her life. She has two friends, both humans: Oli, who runs a local bar, and Yannis, a government archivist.

When another female replicant comes to Bruna's door and tries to kill her. Bruna fends her off, but then the other replicant plucks out her own eye and dies. Bruna finds out that the attacker had an illegal memory implant which apparently had malfunctioned and made her attack Bruna. She isn't the only replicant who has attacked another replicant recently.

The leader of the Radical Replicant Movement, Myriam Chi, contacts Bruna after someone sends her a video in which Chi is brutally killed. Chi is convinced that the same person is responsible for the other replicants going insane and killing people, and she wants Bruna to find out who's behind it. Tensions between humans and replicants are rising to a boiling point.

Bruna is a tough, solitary, independent woman. She drinks heavily to counter her loneliness, and even though she is solitary, she occasionally reaches out to other people to help them. However, sometimes her motivations were a little hard to see. When talking to Chi, she starts to argue philosophically with her, surprising herself when she does so. The same thing happens several other times.

The book has a few other significant secondary characters. Paul Lizard is a police officer whom Bruna is attracted to, but she doesn't know if she can trust him, and he treats Bruna like a suspect. Pablo Nopal was a memorist (they write replicants' memories), but he was forced out of the business when he was suspected of killing his rich uncle. Now he writes books. He is searching for one specific replicant who has the memories he wrote last. He wrote more--and more vivid--scenes than usual, so the replicant should be an unusual person. Old Yannis Liberopoulos lost his son twenty years ago and still grieves his loss. He helped Bruna through a hard time, and they have become close friends. Yannis lives for the archives; when he finds that entires are being altered, he is very upset.

Four of the book's chapters are archive entries about the world which feel a bit clumsy as a way to impart the world's history and its current situation. Supposedly, Yannis is editing these entries. In this dystopic world, you cannot trust anyone and always have to watch your back against a betrayal. The world-building is lush with details, but some readers may grow impatient with the many descriptions and be disappointed by an ending that feels a little rushed.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Mervi Hamalainen, 2013

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