An outcast discovers new worlds in the old one’s wreckage.
With her parents taken by the last wave of hemorrhagic Red Death, 12-fingered Leica strives to protect her sisters, Lotus and Taschen. Citizens of Pleiades must exchange all Finds from the ruins of the Colony on planet Gabriel for food from the bio-suited Curadores, who live in the decadent but decaying Dome. Caught with contraband and banished to the wastelands, Leica encounters other exiles…and overhears a radio message that may be from Earth. Seeking redemption, reunion with her sisters, and answers about the Red Death, Leica infiltrates the Dome, posing as a Kisaeng (a sort of geisha/concubine) to the dashing but increasingly deranged black Curador Edison, rallying the women, and struggling with the consequences of revolt. Despite the requisite love triangle—here, among Leica, Edison, and Edison’s identical brother, Nikola—and Chosen-One agonizing, through adversity and new alliances, Leica emerges as a compelling, body-positive heroine of color who capitalizes on her strengths and celebrates diversity. Etienne delivers a dystopian tale that deftly dissects stories—fairy tales, religious creation myths, political conspiracies—and develops a richly layered world drawn from such disparate cultures as Korean and Mexican.
An ambitious, action-filled adventure that chronicles one girl’s rebellion and the world-shaking revelations that follow. (Science fiction. 14 & up)