Thursday, August 15, 2019

Review: The Warehouse by Rob Hart

The Warehouse
The Warehouse by Rob Hart
Publication Date: August 20th, 2019
Hardcover. 368 pages

About The Warehouse:

"Cloud isn’t just a place to work. It’s a place to live. And when you’re here, you’ll never want to leave.  

Paxton never thought he’d be working for Cloud, the giant tech company that’s eaten much of the American economy. Much less that he’d be moving into one of the company’s sprawling live-work facilities. 

But compared to what’s left outside, Cloud’s bland chainstore life of gleaming entertainment halls, open-plan offices, and vast warehouses…well, it doesn’t seem so bad. It’s more than anyone else is offering. 

Zinnia never thought she’d be infiltrating Cloud. But now she’s undercover, inside the walls, risking it all to ferret out the company’s darkest secrets. And Paxton, with his ordinary little hopes and fears? He just might make the perfect pawn. If she can bear to sacrifice him. 

As the truth about Cloud unfolds, Zinnia must gamble everything on a desperate scheme—one that risks both their lives, even as it forces Paxton to question everything about the world he’s so carefully assembled here. 

Together, they’ll learn just how far the company will go…to make the world a better place. 

Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business--and who will pay the ultimate price."

The Warehouse is a somewhat foreboding and unexpected look at what could happen if a large e-commerce company were to become the leading--nearly sole--provider of products in the country.

The world-building in The Warehouse is crucial to this story and overall I think Hart really excelled in this area. His creation of Cloud and all that inhabits it was vivid and done in such a way that it felt extremely realistic. There is immense detail given in relation to how the company works, including surveillance, the divisions among employees, the places they are and are not allowed to visit, the tracking, the day-to-day monotony of each area of work life, and so much more. I loved all the little details that Hart included in order to make Cloud feel like an authentic corporation, such as the inclusion of the initial welcome and training information that the employees get upon starting (looking to set up for retirement at Cloud? you'll find out how!) to the rating system in place among employees to keep them working diligently. It brings everything to life.

The world outside of Cloud is also a rather important point of interest for the story and is something I won't go into much detail about, but I do wish that there had a been a bit more background given on the events of the outside world and how they led to Cloud being what it is. There's a general overview given so it's not a mystery per se, but it is still something that I would've liked to know more about, including how people outside of Cloud survive. We get so much about how so many people live in Cloud, but I'm curious about the people outside of Cloud who are constantly ordering from them.

The two main characters we follow are Paxton and Zinnia, each coming to work at Cloud for vastly different reasons, but both falling prey to its greedy, soul-consuming environment. I can't say I ever really felt connected to either character or felt exceptionally attached to them, but I was still invested enough to where I had motivation to keep reading this story and find out what would befall them. I related to various sentiments and situations that each found them in at various times, but as characters overall I just never really liked either one, though Paxton himself seemed rather harmless. All that being said, I don't mind if I don't really like characters as long as they are still interesting and the story is still strong, and both of those were true of The Warehouse. They both had well-developed character arcs that were handled with a deft hand and accurately depicted how an environment like Cloud can affect one's mindset.

The pacing of The Warehouse matches the tone and plot of the story extremely well. It's a steady pace at all times, even if it's a period of time when there isn't a lot technically happening and it doesn't seem as though the action is moving the plot forward. There are plenty of moments of monotony and repetition that Hart adopts in order to convey what life is really like at Cloud, and because of that these areas feel a bit slower at times even though things are still moving at the same pace. I can see this being hit or miss with people, but I didn't personally mind it all that much. The ending is also a bit abrupt and left me with mixed feelings. Part of me really likes the note that Hart ended this book on, but there's also a part of me that wanted a little more from our characters. In the end, though, it just ends up feeling like something that might happen in real life, which we all know isn't always that exciting and thus felt fitting.

The Warehouse is not technically a horror novel. There's nothing overtly 'scary'--there's no ghosts jumping out at people--but there are plenty of things that are inherently frightening and are a deep cause for worry. This takes on a lot of topics about consumerism, corporate greed, climate change, acceptance/standing by, and many other topics that are relevant to our lives today. It's scary because a lot of the elements at play feel eerily plausible and it creates a great reason to step back and reevaluate our role in our world.

Overall, I've given The Warehouse four stars! This is a solid book with dystopian vibes that will really make you think about things while keeping you hooked on every page. 

*I received an ARC of The Warehouse courtesy of the publisher, Crown. This has no effect on my rating or enjoyment of the novel.*


  1. I really enjoyed this too! And you raised a great point (which I will now have to explore when I write my review): if the world outside is an uninhabited wasteland, how can people afford to do so much shopping? Hmmm...

    1. I'm so glad you also did! Yeah, I wasn't sure because I know that it seems a lot of the people that work at Cloud order stuff, but then I assume it's not just them, but then that still left me with questions, haha. Fortunately that's not something that messes with enjoyment of the story. :)

  2. This sounds so interesting! I love that the world-building was so good, it sounds crucial to the story.