A YA sci-fi review to end what has been a particularly long week for me.
Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.
However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.
With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.
The description of this book really piqued my interest, I was excited to see what kind of enhancements people would have and what kind of animals they would want parts from, I have to say I was impressed with the creativity in that respect there were a lot more options than I would ever have imagined. They ranged from fairly simple and cosmetic like white teeth or tan skin, to intelligence or speed, then to the more extreme like wings or horns, it was very telling that the people who took multiple enhancements tended to be the worse of humanity.
The story dives right into the action and straight away you can see the problems that the nanites can cause, taking too many can be perilous, the societal pressure to take them, and the fact that it has become so prevalent that it almost immediately makes unadjusteds outcasts. It was great to get straight into the story and even without too much preamble it was easy to pick up what was going on, especially as more is revealed as you go along.
I enjoyed the mix of characters and that there were some adjusteds that also felt that things were getting too out of control and were on the side of the unadjusteds, it was good after getting Silvers initial assessment of the altereds that she goes to school with that we get to see another side to people with enhancements. I have to say I didn’t exactly gel with Silver as a character, it is kind of hard to explain why without giving away a bit of a spoiler but she was on occasion a bit too self-involved for me to be 100% behind her. I really liked Paige and Joe I felt like we got below surface level with them and there were lots of other likeable characters we just didn’t quite get the chance to go deeper with them, I definitely thought on more than one occasion that I would like to know a bit more about Matt’s background.
There was a lot of top-notch action throughout the book but I did feel that sometimes the world-building was sacrificed for it, I didn’t really get a good sense of place in certain scenes and I occasionally had to go back and reread parts because it felt like the characters had jumped position as if by magic which wasn’t the case but without a good grounding of where they were I couldn’t keep up with the action and the place. I also did wonder about some of the events at the end of the book, the villain was very not quite as formidable as I would have liked and I do wonder about the characters’ motivations as they continue into the next book.
Having said that it was an enjoyable read, I fairly whizzed through it and there was a lot of imagination within the pages.
Marisa Noelle is the writer of MG & YA SFF & mental health novels which include The Shadow Keepers, The Unadjusteds, The Rise of the Altereds, The Reckoning and The Mermaid Chronicles – Secrets of the Deep at the end of 2019. When she’s not writing or reading or watching movies, she enjoys swimming. In the pool, she likes to imagine she could be a mermaid and become part of some of her make-believe words. In the water, she can ignore the real world and focus on the plots of new novels and scenes. She lives in Woking, UK with her husband and three children.