The story begins with Lily Miyashiro meeting David Mooreland, her great grand-uncle for the first time and he’s asking her permission to die. It’s far into the future, where the younger generation has burning resentment for the likes of David – the older generation, which are referred to as the burners. The present generation suffers from the consequences of a climate gone wrong. It’s now a world of sherpas and AIs.


So, Lily receives a call from David’s carer and she realizes that her late grandmother’s uncle wanted to see her. Yay, she had a relative! She tells Ava, her friend about it, but this guy is the older generation, which means he is a burner. Ava advises Lily to ignore him, but Lily has fond memories of her grandmother, which automatically extends to David. She takes him a bunch of bright, yellow flowers, expecting a warm family bonding, but is disappointed by that request (the one about him wanting to die, and she needs to give her permission first). She’s just meeting him for the first time so it should be easy, but Lily’s memory of losing her mother is fresh. She can’t just let David go when she just met him. Coincidentally, David has to appear at the Climate Court, where people of his generation have to answer to how they contributed to the decline of the global climate – they are all referred to as burners and so are usually found guilty. David is confident that he doesn’t have to appear in court because he’ll be getting a waiver which will enable him not to appear at court, but Lily insists that he appears at court and offers to get him a human lawyer to take his case.


Lily is part of a group called Humans First, where she meets Matteo, a human Lawyer and an ex-sex addict with android trainers. Humans First is anti-AI. No matter how human and efficient an Artificial Intelligent human-looking machine may be, it doesn’t compare to the real thing. They just don’t have the right emotions humans should have. It also turns out that they might not be perfect in the case of Lily’s mother: an AI dispensed the wrong drug to her hospitalized mum and rendered her brain dead, killing her – So many members with so many reasons for being anti-AI. The court is swarmed with AIs as Lawyers and Lily can’t stand the idea of David being represented by one (an opinion David and Lily share). With some reluctance, David takes the case and the ball is set rolling.


This novel primarily weaves an interconnection between varying relationships as well as contrasts. For instance, as we read through we get to know David and understand his choices. On this journey, we truly see David: his family, his career as well as the major role he played in negotiations and climate decisions. We also experience the relationship between David and Sarah, his AI caregiver. Sarah is motherly, a protector, a friend, and an adviser to David. She’s so human that you’ll think she is until a Human First member points out David shared interests with them despite having an AI. David is given another chance at a family with Lily, when he foregoes Matteo as a Lawyer, just so that Lily can have a romantic chance with Matteo, while Lily uses this period with David to heal from past mistakes and/or regrets, break away from being too dependent on Ava and move on to start a family of her own.


One thing I loved most about this book was the attack scene; it was so vivid that I could picture the scene without any effort. The book is fast-paced, clearly understood, and enjoyable.


Boom! Shattering glass and spraying debris crashed against the walls. Almost simultaneously, a shockwave hit me front on, shoving me back onto the seat and against the side wall. The proximity of the wall stopped me from slumping to the floor. A split second later, a cloud of dust enveloped me. I instinctively put my hand over my mouth and nose. Then came an endless rain of particles.

“Sarah?” I called out.

The eerie silence after the blast was broken by a toothbrush toppling onto the floor.



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