A scrappy survivor learns dangerous secrets in an artificial intelligence–heavy "post-apocalyptic hellscape."
In a devastated post–nuclear war North America where corporations reign supreme, radiation occasionally causes mutations, but the main impact is rampant cancer. What’s left of Kalifornya is an island called Dregs, where white teen Eve pilots a machina in the WarDome arena against bots that have malfunctioned and broken the First Law of Robotics (harming a human) in order to earn enough to cover her grandfather’s medication. When a match goes wrong and Eve is about to be killed, she lifts her hand and screams, causing the rogue robot to destruct—to her shock and everyone else’s. Unfortunately for Eve, Brotherhood fanatics exterminate “abnorms” and “deviates,” so she has to go on the run. She and her redheaded best friend, Lemon (a tiny girl with a big personality), find Ezekiel, an olive-skinned, blue-eyed “lifelike” (the most advanced androids ever made, but ones that broke free of robotic laws and slaughtered their creators). Hunted by multiple parties after the WarDome incident, Eve uncovers revelations about herself, thanks to Ezekiel, while also struggling to keep her loved ones alive. Between the worldbuilding, nonstop action, endless twists, and futuristic jargon, characters sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Refreshingly, romance and female friendship are given equal weight.
Inventive and unexpected. (Science fiction. 12-adult)