84K by Claire North

By Claire North
Publisher: Orbit
Available 5/22/18
ISBN: 9780356507378
Pages: 480
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopia


What if your life were defined by a number?

What if any crime could be committed without punishment, so long as you could afford to pay the fee assigned to that crime?

Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.

But when Theo’s ex-lover Dani is killed, it’s different. This is one death he can’t let become merely an entry on a balance sheet.

Because when the richest in the world are getting away with murder, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up.

My Thoughts

84k was my first experience with Claire North’s work. It is my understanding this is her pseudonym used for many of her adult fantasy stories. She has also published a collection of YA titles under her real name Catherine Webb and has works published under Kate Griffin. Quite honestly, I am still attempting to sort it all out. One thing is certain though, her writing speaks to me in a way I have missed. She has a firm working knowledge of dystopia and presents that to her readers on a very specific level. You can learn more about her and her work here.

The skinny..

The man called Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. His days are spent crunching numbers. In a world where every crime has a value, he estimates the incurred fees of each criminal act. Pay the costs and you go free. Your debt to society has been paid. But when an old friend Dani is assassinated, he finds the math increasingly impossible. Something is just not adding up. In his efforts to find more worth in her death, he uncovers something much larger. How far is Theo willing to go to set wrongs right?

“The man whose name was sometimes Theo Miller had been twenty-two years old when they abolished humans rights. The government insisted it was necessary to counter terrorism and bring stable leadership to the country.”

What I appreciated..

  • An alternative reality setting that is eerily familiar. This allows for full immersion on the reader’s part while maintaining that necessary level of discomfort that must be achieved in dystopian tales.
  • North’s writing offers a unique and defining prose that supplies the warranted air of bleakness and struggle. It carries her story with what feels like a triumphant victory.
  • Themes that explore the worth of human life and challenge societal structures and hierarchies.
  • Solid character evolution that reminds us to look behind curtains. Change can often come in the most unlikely form and when least expected.
  • A steadfast reminder to never lose sight of human rights and be ever diligent of our surroundings.
  • Brilliant transportation of emotions from page to reader.

“I can prove it. I can prove they broke it. They broke everything. They broke the world.”

Challenges some may encounter..

  • This is a heavy read that at times can almost feel tiresome. North asks the reader to think and work for it all. I have come to appreciate and expect that in true dystopian stories.
  • The narrative is often supplied in incomplete or abrupt thoughts that while effective can feel disjointed and require an adjustment period.
  • There are a several graphic (violent) but never gratuitous scenes.

84K delivers a certain level of difficulty and the dismal that is reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World. It makes no promises of being an easy read, nor should it. And for that, it is ultimately incredibly effective. Delivering a pertinent and powerful theme, it succeeds in capturing and supplying the necessary elements of true dystopia. Equally intelligent and challenging, it is a brilliant addition to the genre that will surely leave a notable mark.

*I would like to thank Orbit Books for this advanced copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

tea cup


Pairs well with a nice cup of English Breakfast and small splash of milk.

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com Book Depository

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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24 thoughts on “84K by Claire North

    1. It has a challenging pace at times but I think you can expect that from the genre. I found it to be really rewarding. The concept of putting a value on everything and literally paying your debt to society was a thinker! I thoroughly appreciated it and hope you will. Some food for thought indeed.


  1. I’m not a fan of sci-fi or dystopian novels but this one.. this is a world that I wouldn’t mind exploring as it is so focused on crime.. It sounds quite interesting and although you have to think it through on your own mostly, I can’t help but be interested! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahahah yay! Glad to see we’re on the same wave length!!! Miller’s evolution in this story was mind-blowing. Pretty cool it’s our first encounter with the author. I really want to read 15 Lives of Harry August now. Awesome review, Danielle! Keep up the structure, it works well. 😉 Or change it whenever you want hahaha 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lashaan! And I really appreciate the feedback about the structure. It started as a result of reading to many reviews that told me too much and my own issues with short term memory and brain fog. It means a lot to know that one of my favorites approves 😉 as I have been second guessing myself hard lately with the blog. I will definitely be looking into more of her work! 15 Lives may be next!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a book which I’ve only recently started to hear about. It sounds intriguing, but I feel a bit burned out on dystopian literature. I just need a break from all the bleakness! That said, I’m totally adding this to my TBR. I love that you found North pushes the reader to consider all the angles of this situation. Isn’t that the point of dystopia? To help us figure out where we will and won’t stand up for what we believe in? To help the reader understand the possibilities of the future if we don’t take a stand?

    What made you decide to pick this book up? Is this part of a series?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Dystopian fiction should always be challenging. If I do not feel somewhat exhausted from it then it failed to reach my expectations. But for that reason, and being such a bleak genre, it is definitely best in small doses sometimes. It is one of my favorites, and even I take breaks so I can appreciate being burnt out. It is not easy ready. Especially when done proper.

      Liked by 1 person

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