After the Omega (the end of the end), 16 year old guys known as LTs discover their overseers are raising them not to be soldiers (lieutenants) as promised, but to be sold as bait because of their Less Than status and hunted for sport. They escape and join forces with a girls’ camp, the Sisters, who have been imprisoned and experimented on for the “good of the Republic,” by a government eager to use twins in their dark research. In their plight for freedom, these heroes must find the best in themselves to fight against the worst in their enemies.
This was the first dystopian of the year for me, and I already am feeling a bit disappointed in the genre. Reading the plot, I knew it would be some Maze Runner like plot, but then it goes into Hunger Games territory, and the second half is like Ashes, so basically a survival plot with lots of dangers, but no world-building. Nuclear fallout doesn’t explain everything, you know? I cannot fathom how it took only two decades for the world to turn upside down, for them to become apathetic towards human life. The boys camp, I somewhat get – money and bigotry could easily lead to that. But the girls’ camp? It seems a little difficult to believe that without any such prejudice, they have no qualms with human testing. And I didn’t even start with the evil scientist trope that, frankly, has been routine in every dystopia.
The story is told in dual POV – first perspective for Book, and third for Hope. Book is a boy with a hero-complex, and baggage that makes him feel like he is responsible for every life out there. Hope is much more pragmatic, but her twin is the one thing she cares about most in the world. Both are escaping from the life they are in, and when Book comes across her it is something like insta-love. He is convinced that they have some bond, because of the pain they share, and sets out to rescue her. Hope and the other girls in her camp are, however, already mid-escape which makes them wary of him. After the two groups meet, it is basically a wild adventure that I mostly skimmed over. The writing was okay, but not enough to keep me engaged – it lacked the element of reality that I expect. Cat, for his part, is mysterious but mostly serves to be the enigmatic leader and plot device for Book’s jealousy. It is his past, however, that I am interested in, as I think he is hiding something. Overall, this book was a little superfluous and I wish it had given more attention to world-building.
Received a free galley from HarperTeen via Edelweiss; this does not influence my opinions or the review.