by Georgia Clark
Sixteen-year-old Tess lived in Eden, a seemingly idyllic, domed city where access to information and water is regulated by the governing Trust. After a rogue robot killed her scientist mother, Tess fled with a terrible secret to the desperate, arid Badlands, where she’s recruited by Kudzu, explained to her as a “nonviolent collective working to undermine the Trust and free the Badlands.” Learning Kudzu plans to destroy Aevum, the Trust’s latest advanced robot, Tess reluctantly returns to Eden, where she finds the luxurious life morally unconscionable and secretly trains with Kudzu. Living with her uncle, who’s involved with Aevum, Tess is strangely attracted to his sympathetic assistant, Hunter. During a Kudzu raid on the Trust’s lab, Tess discovers that Aevum will be used to eradicate all inhabitants of the Badlands—and that Hunter’s not what he seems to be. (Description from Goodreads.com)
Okay, the very fist thing I am going to say is don't judge this book by it's poorly chosen cover! I don't know who designed it but it is somewhat off-putting. It's very unfortunate, too, because I was hooked on this book from page one!
Clark is gifted with the ability to set the atmosphere and settings for this book right from the start. I never doubted the desperation of the people starving in the Badlands. I could feel the searing heat and my lips got dry just reading the first section of the book. Then, when Tess returns to the domed city of Eden, Clark makes the shift to opulent technological excess so smoothly and believably that I felt as if I was in Eden. The technologies were also clearly based from our own making it very easy to imagine and understand how things were supposed to work in Eden.
I really enjoyed Tess as the main character. She had spunk like many other dystphoic heroines, but also was well-rounded in the sense that she seemed truly concerned about others in her society (because she had personal experience living the lives that they did...unlike some other heroines just thrown into their new leadership roles) and the new friends that she made in Eden. She felt guilty if she put others in danger, she aimed to clean up her own mistakes, and she thought about how her actions would affect the future of her world. She was determined and brave and also funny. I rooted for her right from the start.
This book also had a great sense of immediate danger, though it takes place over the passage of weeks. Clark threw Tess and her compatriots into some very hairy situations and there were believable consequences. I was happy to find in the end, though, that things worked out for at least a few of them the way that I'd hoped.
A book that I flew through, unable to put down, and one that deserves more attention than it may get if not talked up by those who have read it! So...go read it!
ALSO - STAY TUNED...I have an interview with the author, Georgia Clark, here on Wednesday!
Full disclosure: Review copy received from Publisher