In the year 2184, humans come in two varieties: the genetically modified version (the Mods), and the ordinary, run of the mill variety (the Mongrels). The Mods, who are smarter and stronger than the Mongrels, have taken over as the dominant species on the planet and treat their genetic inferiors like work animals, keeping them under a harsh regime that dictates everything they do.
The novel 2184 starts off strong. When the main character Mark Henshaw, a Mongrel, is arrested for breaking curfew, he's sent to a forced labor camp where he must fight to survive. While he’s there, he’s given information that could potentially bring down the Mods's empire. After a daring escape (which is very gripping to read), Mark and a new friend, Kahmal, travel back to London to try to put the outrageous plan into action.
And that’s where the story dies.
One of the best things about this book is that it operates on more than one level. Not only does it tell the story of Mark’s capture and escape, but it delves deeply into the nature of gods and men. It explores what it means to be human as well as super-human, and it reaches some very interesting conclusions.
The problem is that all of this theory and philosophy hijacks the story. Pages and pages of lengthy conversations weigh down the action. So much so, that after the prison escape, it seems that the author is just wasting time until the final sequence (which, by the way, is very good.)
The book would have been better served if some of the conversation and needless details (such as the ten pages spent on explaining how the protagonist loaded a barge) were pared down in order to keep the story moving.
Although 2184 has a unique premise, readers will likely skip over quite a bit in order to get to the good parts.