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Review: KYN – Laurence Ramsay

KYN - Laurence Ramsay

Genre: Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk, Hopepunk, Solarpunk

LGBTQ+ Category: Bi, Gay, Gender Fluid, Lesbian, Non-Binary, Poly

Reviewer: Beáta

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About The Book

In a near post-dystopian future, an immortal assassin fights to defend civilization’s last city from the encroaching threat of mysterious invaders – all while struggling to protect those he loves from the twisted machinations of those he was bred to serve.

Action-packed and dripping with slick style, KYN is a queer, hopepunk anthem set in a post-dystopian world of blazing colour and neon grit. Hyperkinetic and irreverent, it’s a f*ck you to the ‘Bury your Gays’ trope, and a brazenly campy homage to the cyberpunk classics that birthed the genre. Filled to its ever-sassy brim with irreverent immortal assassins, charming hacker boy-toys, and genderfluid sirens, KYN is a love story to the indomitable spirit of queerness that dares to dream of a new and better future beyond dystopia.

The Review

Kyn is the name of the main character, an assassin in the service of the leaders of a dystopian megacity. Like his colleagues, he has been raised since birth to be a ruthless weapon, and was injected with a serum that gives the few who survive it some superpower. Kyn is a superhealer, to the point that he is basically immortal – even when killed, he heals himself back to life.

During a mission to destroy a drug factory, Kyn and his friends run into a mystery. To unravel it, they need to dig deep into the hidden mechanics of their world, and they find out that everything is very different to what they have been taught.

I went into this story almost completely blind. The only things I knew about this book were the title, and that it was marked as “hopepunk”. It doesn’t fit perfectly with my taste in sci-fi, as I am not that huge a fan of dystopias.

But I don’t regret choosing this. It’s a well-written book, and the author has clearly put a lot of work into it.

The worldbuilding is very good, especially the technology. Everyone in this book has multiple technological implants, giving the story a very vibrant, futuristic vibe. The giant city that the characters live in, many-layered with the poor living at the bottom in permanent shadow and cut off from the outside by a giant wall, feels like the kind of place you could spend the rest of your days roaming in and still not have seen everything.

The action is amazing too. More than anything, this book reads like an action movie. And here is where I need to say that the cover was extremely well-chosen. Kyn soaring through the air while parcouring over the roofs of buildings really is the picture that most stuck me.

Finally, the queerness in this book is handled very well. It’ss treated completely naturally. This is a very queer book, but is also very normal about it.

The only real issue I had with this book was the structure andpacing. Kyn spent a little too much time following orders and working to uphold the status quo before finally rebelling. Maybe the author was just enjoying the world he created and the action scenes a little bit too much – those take up the majority of the book. The first three-quarters feel stretched, and the last a bit hurried. It took significantly longer to get through than its actual length.

KYN is the first book in The Resonance Cycle, and the only one out so far. It works perfectly well as a stand-alone, but I do hope that the author keeps going. It’s a story worth continuing, and one I enjoyed. If you love (hopeful) dystopian fiction and cinematic action, give it a try!

The Reviewer

Beáta Fülöp is an aspiring filmmaker and writer. She identifies as aromantic and asexual, and has an autistic Special Interest in the representation of minorities. One day, she will use this knowledge in her own stories. Until then, she is happy to sit here and give her opinion on other people’s hard work. 

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