I didn’t have a clue that this was a young adult book when I bought it. I read the blurb, thought it sounded interesting and clicked the “buy” button. As soon as I started reading, it didn’t take long to reaslise that I was not the intended audience for this book, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.
Clone 3, later known as Trio, wakes up alone and confused in a toilet stall. With only a hologram of two people telling her that she needs to go, to keep moving and to find the others, she sets out on a journey with no destination, no directions and no idea of who she is or what her purpose is.
The world is not as she remembers it; if what she does remember is reliable. Trio soon learns the law of this new jungle and how each man-child is out for themselves. After eventually meeting up with a group of nomadic kids, she is told the story of The Sick, and how a strangle illness befell the adults of society, killing them and leaving only the children and elderly alive.
Trio cannot shake the feeling that she is missing an important piece of the puzzle, but with the help of her newfound friends and a stray dog she’s grown attached to, Trio set out on her journey to find out who she is and why she’s here. She also realises that there are greater things to fear in the dark than a group of bandit kids.
This is a first person narrative. The writing was fast-paced and easy to read. Larsen was able to really get the reader inside Trio’s head. I could feel the confusion and the her frustration because she couldn’t remember where she came from, where she is meant to go or why she’s been sent on this mission. Moreover, Larsen made Trio’s feelings of guilt, love, kindness and loss tangible.
“Now that they’ve settled, I catch myself starting at every noise, every breath of air, even when Shine and his sister, now called Shade, murmur in their puppy sleep. I wish I had someone to watch my back. It isn’t until I groan at last and roll over on my side I remember I’m not alone after all.”
Though I love watching sci-fi, I have never really been able to get into literary sci-fi. This book, however, is making me consider retrying the genre. It was such easy reading and had a great story that I’ve just bought the other two books in this trilogy. As I mentioned earlier, this is aimed at young adults but for any one wanting to try out the genre this would be a good place to start. What I particularly like about this novel, is that the desolation of the environment is not caused by zombies or any other trope dominating the sci-fi and horror genres.
The societal developments within the book, as a result of The Sick and a lack of resources, medication, crop production, skills and clean water, is fascinating. This book reminded me of a more gentle Lord of the Flies. Some of the kids are so adult for their age, because they have to be in order to survive. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone wanting to try something new, young adult or otherwise.
My Rating: 4/5