A teenage runaway survives a brutal attack with the aid of a beautiful stranger, only to discover her new friend isn’t quite the hero she’s always dreamed of.
At 16, Kalli finds herself trapped under the thumb of her mother’s cousin, Sita. After Kalli’s father leaves, Sita forces men upon Kalli under the guise of finding her a rich Indian husband to support the family. Finally, Kalli flees, only to be assaulted and nearly killed. An angelic stranger named Ellis saves her and brings her to a healer. Kalli wakes with only a tiny scar, as if she were never hurt at all, and soon Ellis invites her to stay with him while she heals. Kalli swings rapidly from mistrust to infatuation; she worries her new situation is too good to be true, but the truth is far stranger than she ever imagined. Robinson spins a story that begins as an eerie mystery and takes a sharp turn into B-movie science-fiction territory. Kalli’s character initially reads as authentic but quickly swerves headfirst into the trope of a teen girl in love, stunting opportunities for growth. The second half of the story reads like a different novel from the first, with too little weight given to worldbuilding.
A disjointed science-fiction thriller helmed by yet another heroine prioritizing a problematic romance above all else. (Science fiction. 13-18)