Government types and a mysterious figure pursue a girl and her twin brother in this debut sci-fi novel and series opener.
Elize and Keeto Simone live in a world of ravaged oceans and deadly gases. And there’s deceit as well, as least from their father, who they suspect has kept things from them, namely details on their mother’s predicament. Years ago, the Global Health Unit took her away, placing her in a hospital’s psychiatric wing. Now Elize is experiencing symptoms of possible mental deterioration (for example, hearing voices). Believing she’ll be hospitalized, too, the twins leave their father behind for Schrödinger University; Elize earned acceptance into the bioengineering program. Determined to maintain a low profile and decipher their father’s flashes (memory recordings), the siblings meet new people but struggle with trust, from Caroline to technological genius Stitch. The enigmatic Nathruyu, meanwhile, trails the twins to the university, certain that her destiny’s somehow tied to theirs. But she’s not the only one hunting them; the Unification’s also after them, and Elize and Keeto want answers, starting with their own origin. Lefave splits her striking tale into three distinct, mostly linear perspectives: Nathruyu’s vague narrative; Elize’s animated, first-person account; and Keeto’s journal entries for their mother. Nathruyu’s story is often bewildering, as her link to the twins remains deliberately obscure. But even abstract moments spawn visual prose: “The atmosphere grows thick with regret, strangling her lungs, as her brain spins inside her skull.” Readers should peruse a glossary addendum first since most slang, though clever and derived from various sources and countries, is sans context. Lefave enhances the plot with murders on campus (some a mystery, others unfolding from a killer’s viewpoint). Much, however, is left unresolved; one character’s promise of answers is an ending riddle that reveals nothing.
A smart, ambitious dystopian tale that teases the protagonists’ epic genesis but saves most of the details for later volumes.