By: Angie Haddock
Sonya, former poster girl for the Delegation, has been imprisoned for ten years when an old enemy comes to her with a deal: find a missing girl who was stolen from her parents by the old regime, and earn her freedom. The path Sonya takes to find the child will lead her through an unfamiliar, crooked post-Delegation world where she finds herself digging deeper into the past–and her family’s dark secrets–than she ever wanted to.
I chose this one because I do read a lot of novels set in a dystopian future, and (like many of you, probably) I remember Veronica Roth from the “Divergent” series. This one is positioned to be a standalone, but could easily spur some sequels. It is also intended for an adult audience, but likewise – a teenager could easily get through it.
This took me a little while to get into, but that is not unusual for a book that involves some “world-building.” Our main character, Sonya, was once literally a poster girl for the Delegation, and her dad worked for the government. After that regime was toppled, many people who worked for them were killed or put into the Aperture.
This space consists of four apartment buildings and two streets that cross each other in the middle. The people there only get deliveries of groceries and donated items monthly, so everything is pretty scarce inside. There is a guard who controls the entrance, but otherwise the inhabitants are left to police themselves.
This is where we find Sonya, the only one left of her family. She was only a teen when the Delegation fell. A new law on the outside is allowing people who were kids when put into the Aperture to be released, as they were (assumed to be) not responsible for the decisions of their parents. Sonya is just past the cut-off birth date, though, and early on in the book she becomes the youngest person inside. She mostly spends her time with older folks – widows and widowers – and considers herself one of them. Everyone inside has lost people.
As the blurb at top indicates, she is offered a chance to earn her freedom by finding a missing girl. She is given 12 hours outside the Aperture every day to conduct her investigation. She is given no budget, but thankfully there is free public transportation. One hindrance she constantly battles is that she is recognized everywhere.
One of the debates raging in the outside world is the use of technology, and whether or not there should be limits on what is used and how. Sonya is led to Emily Knox, an infamous hacker, to see if she has any data that would help find the missing girl. A lot of the back half of the book is spent in this world – with hackers, tech, and anti-tech extremists. There is a lot of action, and a few deaths. During this time, Sonya is also learning more about the inner workings of the Delegation, the roles of her dad and her family friends within the Delegation, and the new government. This section kind of had a “Jason Bourne” vibe to me, with her constantly learning what she didn’t know.
I’m not going to give away the ending, but Sonya does find out what happened to the missing girl. She also grows a little more assertive during this whole ordeal, and uses her newfound knowledge to get what she wants in the end.
This book comes out today, October 18th. I was able to read ahead through Netgalley.