Must read 🏆

A tightly-plotted near-future dystopian with a great atmosphere and characters you can root for!

In a near-future dystopian version of Great Britain where a despotic megacorp known as Avarit controls, well, everything, a sharp young woman named Jac has to leave the comfort of her sheltered forest community to visit the city, only to learn just how deep and wide the corruption goes. After unknowingly saving the leader of the resistance, she finds herself drawn to the cause... and to him. *wink, wink*

From the very first chapter, I was drawn in. Aspen does a fantastic job setting the scene and putting you right into the action without disorienting you. However, she also keeps a very strong focus on character reactions and thought processes, which really helped ground me in the world in a way that sci-fi jargon simply couldn't.

Which, speaking of sci-fi jargon, Aspen still does a great job of incorporating it without it feeling like endless exposition dumping--and I have a total monkey brain when it comes to catching worldbuilding details, so if I could follow along okay, that's a huge point in its favor.

Our main protagonist, Jac, is smart, relatable, and felt like a real person. I liked that she wasn't a warrior-huntress but still had real courage and gumption. I also loved her found family and the sweet relationship she had with her grandfather.

Meanwhile, Raine is strong, steadfast, and a total badass while still feeling human. I thought the build-up to him and Jac meeting was perfect; after all, I am a sucker for the "injured warrior needs a stranger's help" trope. (Is that a trope? Well, it is now!) While I did think their romance came on a little fast, it's still in its infancy, so I'm eager to see how it develops in later books.

The plot was also solid and fast-paced while still giving the characters a chance to breathe. While it is setting up a trilogy, there is a very clear sense of conflict and direction. I liked how everything converged in the end, though it left me with enough questions to want to read more!

Overall, I totally recommend this to dystopian fans, especially if you liked The Hunger Games!

Reviewed by

Freelance writer and content developer by day, blogger and aspiring author by night. However, my only professional goal has always been to make a living doing what I love most: reading and writing! At my core, I'm just a goof who loves a good story.

About the author

Jay writes from experiences in wilderness travel and extreme sports; snow peaks in the Andes, big walls in Yosemite, sailing the Irish sea to photograph puffins and dolphins. She has a science degree, trained with Himalayan shamans, sings jazz, rides horses. view profile

Published on February 14, 2022

Published by Sandfire Publishing Ltd

250000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Dystopian

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