"By continually paying such close attention to detail, Smiles has proven that she’s skilled at crafting a nuanced page turner."– Kirkus Reviews
In the third book in Smiles’ (Choices, 2013, etc.) sci-fi Rothston series, a young and in love college couple deals with family issues, special powers and a secret international organization that may have a sinister agenda.
At the beginning of Smiles’ new Rothston entry, trust-fund kid Greg Langston and his girlfriend, an “adept named Kinzie Nicolosi,” are back at school, though they’re hardly carefree college students. As Kinzie reminds her beau (and catches up new readers), they just “spent months escaping from a mad scientist who was using [them] for genetic experiments.” Their dangerous, adventurous past was centered on The Rothston Institute, a sort of Hogwarts for “adepts”—individuals with powers that include translocating, “reading into the past” and the ability to “guide” others in their decision-making. Adepts feel both protective of and superior to regular folk, aka “commons.” In spite of Greg’s insistence that “nothing good ever happened” in Rothston, the pair returns to the institute to witness the execution of Bradley Jamison, the man at the heart of Kinzie’s nightmares. Jamison, who had experimented on Kinzie in his lab, has been sentenced to die for his role in the killing of a common newborn during an experiment to create enhanced adepts. After the execution, Jamison’s ghost haunts Kinzie as she searches to understand the origin and location of the mysterious Pierre Rouge, a red stone said to increase the power of adepts. Kinzie, who was raised by her solo dad, also seeks to discover her own origins as she tries to find out the identity of her mother. Meanwhile, Greg, who loves Kinzie more than anything, worries that she expects the answers to have “some fairytale ending.” But, he wonders, what if she finds out otherwise? His concern is justified. Author Smiles easily creates tension, and many chapters have cliffhanger endings that pull readers forward into the story. Having Kinzie take turns with Greg as the narrator in alternating chapters gives the narrative a nice female/male balance while letting the reader understand the story from different points of view. Dialogue is strong, and minor characters prove to be as intriguing as the leads. This is new adult fiction done right.
An adept offering of diverse characters engaged in a suspenseful sci-fi storyline that’s far from common; might even appeal to an audience outside the sci-fi realm.
An international thriller in which two young lovers face off against a secret organization bent on world domination.
In Smiles’ previous installment of her series (Foreseen, 2012), readers entered a fascinating sci-fi world mapped directly onto the everyday reality around them. In this place, some humans are born with extra powers—telekinesis and mind control. Such enhanced humans, called “adepts,” have walked among the more ordinary for the history of humankind, and they’ve always been considered as merely persuasive or lucky. In the 21st century, however, the science of their superiority has been studied—especially by the Rothston Institute, a secretive gathering of adepts intent on using their powers behind the scenes to advance humanity...and to find and train new ranks of superpowered young people. Two of those young people—smart introvert Kinzi and dashing jock Greg—spent the first installment of the series facing off against rogue elements inside Rothston (and also falling in love). Smiles’ new book begins with a perfectly orchestrated jolt. The young lovers awaken not in the safety of their own room but in what appears to be a laboratory: They’re back at Rothston Institute. As Rothston senior adept Melvina “Mel” Whitacre (an enigmatic figure from the first novel, “a leader of a place that thought it was above the law or any sort of morality at all”) explains once they confront her, Kinzi’s father brought them both in for their own good. They’d appeared dead and were revived with only moments to spare. As Kinzi and Greg navigate once again the treachery and double-dealing of Rothston’s elite, it becomes increasingly clear that the faction controlling the institute is no longer altruistic. Smiles interlaces the action and suspense with some interesting science tidbits and with a carefully considered version of human history in which adepts have always walked among us. And Kinzi and Greg remain extremely engaging main characters.
A tense and well-plotted continuation of the Rothston Series.
Kinzie Nicolosi had always wanted the power to change the world; now maybe she will.
Smiles has created a universe in her sci-fi novel where two types of people exist: adepts and commons. Adepts can see and manipulate the atoms that constitute everything. They can influence people’s decisions and they can translocate: move matter from one place to another. Commons don’t have any of these special attributes. Kinzie Nicolosi, a loner and a powerful adept, is a freshman at Hutchins College. Raised by an overly protective single father, Kinzie is on her own for the first time in her life. When an experiment in her science class yields statistically impossible results, Kinzie’s uncle Mark informs her that she’s an adept—she can use her mind to change the world. First time author Smiles has devised a convincing supernatural culture. Her novel is so richly detailed that the reader accepts that this separate society of adepts exists and has its own storied hierarchy. The theoretical concept behind adepts is clearly explained so that even a reader who has never taken a physics course will find it easy to understand. One adept says: “You’ve observed the turbula, correct?...The tunnels branch, sometimes in multiple directions, each heading to a different possible future....We can influence the decision by subtly broadening one branch over another, making it more likely that is the decision which will be made.” By continually paying such close attention to detail, Smiles has proven that she’s skilled at crafting a nuanced page turner.
A worthy sci-fi thriller à la Dean Koontz.