Release date: October 4th 2016
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.
Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…
What drew me in, at first, with this book was the concept. Two separate stories that would come together to form one larger story. I was really intrigued to how that would play out. The two POVs were not alternating, instead they were one after the other. I had a digital edition of the ARC but I’m very curious to see how to final physical copy is presented.
I liked that it didn’t matter which story the reader chose to read first. I read Lyra’s first simply because it was first in the e-ARC and therefore was easier. Both girls had interesting stories and I was happy that I found myself enjoying both equally. When I was reading Gemma’s I didn’t find myself wishing I was still reading Lyra or thinking that Gemma made Lyra’s uninteresting. Both parts worked well together and were both needed. Each part gave clues to the overall story.
Lyra, or 24, was born at Haven. It was all she ever knew. She only had interactions with the doctors, nurses, and her fellow replicas. She loved to read and would read anything she get her hands on, which wasn’t much, and she yearned for affection. The doctors and nurses that would show the replicas affection never lasted long. When she escaped, everything was so new to her and that would have been hard enough to deal with but there was also the huge mystery of what exactly Haven was doing to her.
Gemma was very sheltered by her parents as she was sick a lot as a child. She had one friend, Alice, in school and when her parents decided at the last minute she couldn’t do spring break with Alice, Gemma rebelled. I understood her frustration and her need for answers to the secrets that her parents were obviously keeping from her. I liked seeing her test herself and find she was stronger than she knew.
The supporting characters were interesting. Pete and Jake and Alice on Gemma’s side, 72 on Lyra’s, Gemma’s parents who seemed to have some connection to Haven. I was excited to read to see how everything tied together. There was less time to develop them since some of them were only or mostly only in one girl’s part but they still felt like character who were important.
This book was over 500 pages but it didn’t feel that way at all. I flew through it. I had so many theories and I needed to know if they were right or I needed to find more clues to form better theories. I know there’s a second book planned and I’m excited for it.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.