In a world where no one can die, murder is the only way out.
In an overcrowded, not-so-distant future Florida, the Initiative keeps a close eye on citizens. Years ago, a plague threatened humanity, but Pins implanted under the skin release nanites that keep everyone healthy. Sixteen-year-old Meadow has been trained by her fisherman father to survive and to kill if necessary. Zephyr, 17, is an orphaned Ward; his job is to clean up the corpses of the victims of the 300-plus murders each month with his only friend, Talan. Zephyr has blackouts and is sure he has killed several people; and sometimes during his blackouts he dreams of a silver-haired girl. When Zephyr and Meadow meet, they set in motion a series of events that will change their world...and maybe the world at large forever. Cummings’ debut, a bloody sci-fi thriller, strains credulity as the plot twists mount and previously held beliefs are shown to be false. Zephyr and Meadow trade off present-tense narration duties in alternating chapters, but their voices are not distinct enough for the device to work well. The world built is interesting enough, but it never comes alive and peters out at the close.
Those in need of more dystopian fiction (is there anyone in this glut?) could do worse, but it’s not a first purchase. (Dystopian romance. 14-17)