The power of psi, or the ability to control objects with thought, is kept in check by one’s conscience. So, when 12-year-old Taemon’s brother Yens, a boy with far more drive than self-control, is named True Son—a prophesied Messiah-like figure—Taemon is forced to decide how far he is willing to go to protect those he loves.
Following a terrible accident, Taemon hears a voice giving him permission to kill his unstable brother. Rather than follow this psychic command, he gives up his psi, leaving him unable to live within the city. Taemon is forced to move to a powerless colony where people use their hands to eat and work. There he meets Challis, his mother’s sister, who exposes him to many secrets that threaten to undo everything he believes. An uneven plot and predictable showdown between the two brothers is partially saved by the surprise ending. Krumwiede facilitates worldbuilding with a psi-centered religion, jargon and slang, as well as caste divisions. At first penned as the stable, sensitive brother, Taemon seems oddly unaffected by his exile. In contrast, Yens, rather than being complicated or interesting, comes across as simply psychotic. Supporting characters are similarly flat. Readers will be drawn to the unique premise, but the many obvious flaws will leave them wanting more.
Ultimately unsatisfying. (Dystopian adventure. 10-14)