A band of orphans travels into a post-apocalyptic London and finds horror.
Lucy-Anne, Jenna, Emily, Sparky and Jack have all grown up in the shadow of Doomsday, when London was transformed into a toxic wasteland. After an encounter with Rosemary, a Londoner with mysterious powers, the intrigued teens embark to the ruined city in an attempt to find their missing parents. As Jack and his crew explore the ruins, they encounter the denizens of the Toxic City: the Irregulars, who attempt to blend their new powers with their humanity; the Superiors, who cast aside who they used to be; and the feared Choppers, the patrol force that watches over them all. Lebbon, an award-winning author for adults, never finds his footing with this clichéd mess of a teen novel. There’s no character development beyond the missing-parent trope, and Jack’s leadership is as inspiring as bland oatmeal. Lucy-Anne’s obviously established mental instability holds no suspense and is poorly executed to boot. The mutant hook doesn’t come together, drawing unfavorable comparisons to Michael Grant’s Gone series and Marvel’s X-Men franchise.
A potentially interesting setting is wasted with shoddy characters, derivative content and dull action. (Science fiction. 12-16)