Veneer by Daniel Verastiqui

book cover of Veneer

The premise of this book - the idea behind the city-state of Easton - was pretty cool. I feel like this is the kind of book I’d have loved reading when I was about fourteen. It has a cool science-fantasy theme going, good-for-nothing government agents, and more. As an adult I appreciated the way it depicted the complete irrationality and melodrama of teenage love (I don’t know if it was trying to or not, though). I have to say that some of the characters were better than others, and I was really disappointed with the trotting out of the “predatory lesbian” trope. Aside from that I think the teenage characters were very thoroughly teenage, to such an extent that I couldn’t help but feel second-hand embarrassment for some of them (ahem, Rosalia).

I’m also not totally sure who the intended audience was. When I first opened it on my Kindle, the blurb had a section that went along the lines of “THIS IS AN ADULT BOOK WITH ADULT THEMES FOR ADULTS,” but thematically it was a pretty typical coming-of-age YA kind of a book, with very teenage characters who were not at all “mature beyond their years”. It just had lots of sex scenes in it. And really, what problem is there with teens reading that? The fanfiction they put out suggests they’re pretty well acquainted with the idea. So, I would recommend the book to teens ahead of adults. The setting is really cool and deserves to be experienced, but I feel like the plot would appeal more to people younger than me.


a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.