Downfall by Louise Carey

January 17, 2023

Please note, Downfall is the third book in the Inscape trilogy. It is highly likely that what follows will contain minor spoilers if you haven’t read books one and two. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


Tanta and Cole may have stopped the mass murder of InTech’s residents, but the cost was severe. Despite their efforts, Harlow 2.0 – the update to InTech’s mind-based operating system – fed out. Now its citizens are compliant zombies, and Tanta and her crew are trapped underground.

All except for Fliss, who has no system to update. She alone can go outside, and it’s Fliss the crew are relying on to help get them out.

For only then can they dismantle the damage Harlow 2.0 has done. If Tanta, Cole and InTech’s residents are to truly be free, it needs to be destroyed. But Tanta knows that task will put her on a collision course with the corporation that raised her, her oldest friends, and the woman who was once her soulmate.

And this last mission might ask more of her than she’s able to give.

After an extended break from The Eloquent Page, I thought it was high time I got back to this book reviewing lark. Due to reasons I’ll not bore you with, I haven’t picked up a book since last November. My first foray back into genre fiction in 2023 had to be something awesome. Something that was going to grab my attention and refuse to let go. Downfall by Louise Carey was the perfect solution to my quandry. The third book of the Inscape trilogy has been on my bookish radar for a while now. Book one and two were a great deal of fun.

The action picks up not long after the events at the end of Outcast. Tanta has been literally forced underground to survive, while Reet finds herself rising swiftly through the corporate ranks.

The chapters alternate between Tanta and Reet’s perspective. I was struck by how Reet’s interpretation of the world mirrors that of Tanta back in book one. As far as Reet is concerned, InTech can’t be anything other a benevolent force in people’s lives. Every action InTech take has to be for the greater good* of society. Meanwhile, Tanta is determined to open people’s eyes. She needs people, particularly Reet, to see the indoctrination they have been forced to endure.

The novel ends on a suitably breathtaking high note. You can’t beat a bit of corporate espionage with a dash of revolution thrown in for good measure. There is also a suggestion that two of my favourite supporting characters, Yas and Fliss, have a bright future together. I would happily read about their further adventures. Carey’s dystopian vision of life focuses in and around what was once London. What of the rest of the country? I’m rabidly curious to find out more. Who knows? Perhaps if I’m really lucky the book gods will smile upon me and other novels will follow. I certainly hope so.

Louise Carey’s exciting tale has achieved something I thought impossible a couple of weeks ago, her writing has reminded me why I fell in love with the escapism of reading in the first place. I’ll most definitely be looking out for whatever she does next.

Downfall is published by Gollancz and is available now. If you’ve read the rest of the novels in this series I can guarantee this will not disappoint.

My musical recommendation to accompany this novel is the soundtrack to Crimes of the Future by Howard Shore. I have been listening to this album a whole lot ever since I discovered it and I’ll admit I’ve been waiting for the perfect book to pair it with. It has a suitably near-futuristic vibe that complements the tone of the novel perfectly. If like me, you enjoy a bit of music while reading I can heartily suggest this.

*I’m willing to bet at least some of you that read that sentence repeated the words “the greater good”.


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