In this dystopian thriller, a teenage girl is sent by her scientist mother to bring valuable information to those in rebellion against the totalitarian government.
Lex Knightley’s mother, Victoria, is a famous psychiatric researcher who specialized in creating powerful mood-altering drugs, most famously Emovere, which suppresses fear. When the drug is discovered to be dangerous, the federal government clamps down on the chaos, but not soon enough. Small, rebellious factions known as the Resistance violently demand that such drugs be removed from the market. San Francisco becomes a desolate wasteland controlled by the Guardian Force, a police unit made up of soldiers whose minds have been altered by Emovere and other drugs related to Victoria’s studies. Full of regrets, Victoria sends her daughter into the dangerous heart of San Francisco to liaise with the Resistance and pass along a flash drive containing knowledge that may help them. Upon her arrival, Lex encounters Quin McAllister, an attractive young former Guardian soldier turned Resistance fighter, who brings Lex to the underground home of the rebels and introduces her to their leader, Augustus Porter. However, despite his charms, Augustus appears to be hiding something—and he doesn’t want anyone else to know about Victoria’s flash drive. Meanwhile, Lex and Quin start to fall for each other, despite Quin’s fears that the violence in his past will continue to affect his future. Lex isn’t a terribly unique protagonist, with little to distinguish her from the standard strong heroine mold, and many of the themes and situations in the story feel a bit too derivative of successful dystopian YA franchises. In particular, the authorities’ strategic use of chemicals to alter people’s emotions and keep society in check isn’t too far from Divergent. Where debut author and forensic psychologist Kane makes her story stand out from the pack is in the deft way she deals with heavy themes related to child abuse, PTSD and the fear that people cannot ever truly leave the demons of their past behind—not to mention the intense struggle that ensues when one falls in love with someone still carrying those demons.
A dark, emotional story about rebellion, closely in the tradition of the Divergent and Legend trilogies.