In Earth’s battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills rise to power and fame. Those without live in poverty.
Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-advanced military officer shows up in her village and questions her identity, long-buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption, and genetic tampering threaten every aspect of her existence as she’s thrust, unwilling, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she’s never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with a hidden agenda of his own.
Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win? – Goodreads
This one was a confusing one for me — the first half of it really intrigued me and kept me turning pages, often late into the night (not good for someone who has to wake up at 0400 the next morning).
The second half had me snoozing, turning pages just to finish it so I could start another book.
Let me begin with the worldbuilding. The story is set in future Earth—Europe. Willow lives in the Outlying Lands, in the technologically-starved and impoverished villages. The Core is where the rich, upper class people live—they have all of the technology, from smart cars to bandaids to tablets. These two locations rarely interact with each other and are night and day different. The scenes were descriptive and portrayed these differences well—it vaguely mentions that The Core is in London and that there are different Cores around the world. I would guess (based on Willow’s dialect) that the Outlying Lands are stationed in Ireland.
The characters. Och. The characters. I really enjoyed Willow for the first half of the book—until she started deteriorating into a tantrum-throwing two-year-old.
“Tantrum? What do I look like, a toddler?”
Yes, you do, something that Reece (her head of security) continues to point out as he accuses her of throwing tantrums and referring to her as a “child” and “brat”.
Willow started out as a strong, independent, dagger-wielding woman—as soon as she got to the Core, she transformed into a whiny, selfish brat who only focused on how horrible her life was since being torn away from her family.
Also, side rant: I got really sick of reading about her inner tiger. It reminded me of the inner goddess in Fifty Shades of Grey. Stop. You do not have an actual tiger in your belly raising her head and shit. Every time the tiger “chuffed” or raised her head or what the hell ever, I got a little more angry.
And Reece. Don’t get me started. I don’t want to divulge any spoilers, but his complete lack of control really pissed me off.
The first half of the book was romantic tension—but as soon as the tension was broken and wishes were fulfilled, I lost interest. This story had so much opportunity to be a kickass story of a girl who discovers she has two prodigal skills and has to survive in the Core—nope.
This series has a lot of potential and I’m halfway interested in what happens. Because I liked the first half, I rated it a 2.5/5 on Goodreads.