This is one of those books that’s hard to review completely without spoiling it, as the major ‘reveal’ happens fairly early on but also shapes the bulk of the novel. So I’m going to just post the blurb to describe it (the blurb covers the first, pre-reveal part), as this is what got me to read it:
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.
The beginning of this novel is really strong. I loved the initial set-up, not being sure why this 10-year-old girl and her classmates are deemed so dangerous, and the weaving in of old stories, particularly Pandora’s Box. I also liked how the novel ended, which often seems to make or break a book for me, and this had an excellent bleak-but-hopeful end. But I found the larger middle section just ‘ok’. I enjoyed reading it, but it didn’t live up to the beginning in terms of writing or tightness of plot. The middle did have some interesting themes to think about, though, particularly the ethics of sacrifice/murder of a few to save humanity, and whether it depends on who that few are. It was just all dragged out a bit too much.
If you like Never Let Me Go, and also apocalyptic-ish/dystopia-ish novels, you might like this one, as long as you go in with the expectation that it’s not as good as Never Let Me Go, and that the middle is a little flabby.