First, thanks to Balzer and Bray for approving me for the e-galley of this title from Edelweiss. I also won an ARC that I actually ended up reading for the most part. This is my first book by the author. I have a copy of The Madman’s Daughter and its sequel, but haven’t gotten around to them yet. I’m even more eager to read them now that I have finished this one though. I have to say I really enjoyed this book.
It’s a kind of new type of story, or at least compared to the majority of what is out there at the moment. The main character is Cora. She is the daughter of a politician, and she just recently got out of juvenile detention for a wreck that killed a woman. She wakes up in the desert. She has no idea where she is or how she got there. Only that the last thing she remembers is being in a car with her brother on the way to spend time with all of her family together. Something that hasn’t happened since before her mother and father got divorced. But now she’s somewhere strange. Alone she thinks, until she runs into a boy her age. A cute boy, named Lucky. Lucky knows Cora, even if she doesn’t know him. He knows about the accident that sent her to the Juvenile detention center, and he has a part in what got her sent there. He feels guilty for it when he gets to know her. They find a dead girl by the ocean that is strangely right on the edge of the desert. They also find tattoos of strange patterns on each other’s necks. They begin to explore the area and find there are all kinds of different environments right next to each other, pretty much in impossible ways. They find what looks like a town from far away, but when they get up closer, it is one, but it is all different kinds of mismatched buildings. And when you go inside there are not normal interiors. They also run into three more people their age. There’s a big strong boy named Leon, a nerdy boy named Rolf, and a very skinny, pretty girl named Nok. They soon find out they are not on Earth anymore. They have been taken by aliens. The aliens are not really as different or strange as could be imagined. They are somewhat human like in their body forms, although their skin color is way different, their eyes are different, and they are bigger. Plus they are psychic. They don’t think humans are as “advanced” as they are. They call themselves “The Kindred”. And supposedly they keep humans in little environments like this, for observation. There were supposed to be 6, three girls and three boys. Matched by the little marks on their necks.
But while the other four seem to be settling in and accepting that this is their new home, Cora wants only to escape. Even as one of the aliens, the Caretaker, seems to be showing her favoritism. She can’t believe how easily the others are falling into what the aliens want them to do. But there is only a 21 day limit, and the caretaker shows Cora what will happen to them if they don’t follow the directions and rules. But she still wants to try to escape. A new human girl named Mali is brought in to replace the girl who died, and she has lived with the aliens since she was 4 years old. Cora hopes to convince her to help her with her plan.
The end will not go quite as expected, there will be a twist in who really is what they say they are, and what the aliens have been telling them will seem not so real.
Honestly this is one that is hard to explain. I just know that it was a very interesting story, some parts that were things I had thought about as a possible story in the past, but all put into the story in a very unique and new way.