Published: April 12th, 2015
Read from May 6th to 13th, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery—and everything changes. Suddenly, there’s reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant.
Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine—and what he will become is far more dangerous.
I really enjoyed this book. The story was extremely interesting and well executed, and I thought the writing itself in this book was just really great.
The plot of this story was something I'd never seen done before with a gas having destroyed the earth and forced the survivors underground. I enjoyed the fact that there were some dystopian elements in the government of the world (and the book is considered dystopian), but it didn't feel as heavy on the dystopian as other books I've read. It felt more relatable and like something one could easily see happening. Readers are also quite close to the leaders of the government, and I thought that was incredibly interesting and unique.
The children started off younger than I expected in the beginning, and that was a bit surprising. There are a lot of time skips though, so they are older for the majority of the book. I actually had a bit of trouble keeping up with the time skips. It was surprisingly hard to keep the years straight when they're larger numbers than you're used to. Because of that, I'm not actually sure what age the kids are exactly at the end of the book. I more or less had to guess based on how they acted.
The characters were probably my favorite part though. I particularly enjoyed the adult characters and the friendship between Terry, John, and Mei.
While I really liked the book, I do still have some questions after reading about how the world operates. The biggest one for me why exactly the society in the book decided to get rid of marriage and go about having kids through contracts. It's never really talked about, but I feel like that sort of thing has to come from a huge societal shift in thinking. At the very least, there had to be some sort of practical thought to it, but it's never really mentioned. They don't seem to have marriage at all or to actually even date so much as just meet in private, although I do wonder if that is different for the people in the slums. We never really get to see those people, and I'm also not entirely clear how many women are chosen to be mothers versus how many aren't.
This is the first in a series though, so it's completely plausible that questions like that will be answered in the future. The ending of the book was surprising yet not surprising at the same time when I really think about it. I think it's leading up to a really interesting sequel, and I look forward to reading it in the future.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult science fiction or dystopian.
I received this book for free from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.