Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Short Reaction: The plot twists, AGH, MY BRAIN, MY HEART!
Blurb provided by Goodreads: When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart.
When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to go, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.
Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.
WARNING: SPOILERS ARE STRIKED OUT.
Let me begin by saying that I actually enjoyed this story a lot. It’s a solid four stars in my books & sci-fi is not something I normally read. Come to think of it, the last sci-fi book I read was a little more than a year ago, oops. However, I think it’s really important to note that this book reads like a contemporary. There’s a lot of plot, action sequences and a smidge of romance. I must put a disclaimer though, that I do not read a lot of sci-fi so I cannot say if this is a really good sci-fi-ish book, but it is really enjoyable nonetheless.
So why didn’t I give this book 5 stars? For starters, the beginning annoyed me to no end. Anna was annoying, her whole situation living in a home where her dad experiments on 4 males was just so bizarre and it irked me that she didn’t even bat a lash?? I would understand if she didn’t know any different, that she lived in a home where her father experimented on people all her life, but then she tells us they came five years ago? So WHY AREN’T YOU CREEPED OUT? And isn’t it so darn convenient that these four guys just so happened to be hot and insanely ripped? And that they live in her basement? I guess if I were her I wouldn’t be complaining too. I kid, I kid (not really). All my reservations were cleared up, however, in the second half of the book. So if you faced the same problem as me in the beginning, READ ON!
We start the story with a little description on the setting and atmosphere and we learn that she lives with her widow scientist father, and that the four boys in her basement are being experimented on by her father’s employer, an organisation funded by the government. She’s friends with all of them but OOOH shocker, one of them is her love interest! There is no build up whatsoever on this ‘romance’, and in the first few chapters we are thrown into this crush and we just have to accept it. I didn’t get why Anna liked Sam or why Sam liked Anna. As I said, we’re thrown into this. Oh, insta-love. Later in this book, we learn more on the background of their relationship, but it didn’t ease me in anyway. If anything, it made me question to plausibility of their relationship even further.
Sam was altered to have a protective nature over Anna. She now knows this but fails to recognise the implications. Does that mean the feelings he has for her were implanted by the Branch? None of these questions were addressed.
Another thing I found very weird in the story was the part they just waltzed into a Branch office. THEY WEREN’T EVEN IN DISGUISE OR WHATEVER. Do you mean to tell me that every Branch agent is looking for these kids, wanting to take them into custody but they don’t do ANYTHING when they just walk in? And only when the reached Connor’s office, deep in the building, were they reprimanded? That was super weird to me.
I think the best part of this book were the plot twists. Rush does this so effortlessly and it left me wide-eyed. Note to self: don’t read in a crowded Starbucks ever again. Now, because the best parts of the books are oh so very spoilery, I’m just going to discuss it in the spoiler tag.
Finding out Anna was altered was not shocking in the least. I already knew that she was, 6 chapters in, because no way can she be so blasé about these weird alteration experiments in the basement of her home. But finding out that Anna and Dani were sisters? Holy hell. I did not see that coming…did anyone?! Talk about a really awkward love triangle. And Trev being the mole? Be still, my beating heart. He was my favourite character in the book and that was a low blow, Rush. A LOW BLOW.
Anna as the main character was meh. I didn’t particularly like her but I did empathise with her on the account of her dead mother. However, I did not buy into her ninja skills. How on earth was she able to beat grown Branch agents to a pulp at the end of the book? We learn that she is slightly stronger than girls her age, but come on. THESE ARE GROWN MEN! If I’m not mistaken, she only took a few combat classes. Not enough to beat men who were hired by this agency TO DEFEND THE AGENCY. Anna as a forlorn child on the run? Believable. Anna beating the shit out of men only at the end of the book? Yeah, right.
All in all, this was really good. It’s a good book to get you out of your reading slump as the pacing is fantastic and the plot is really intriguing. I don’t know if it’s the best sci-fi book out there but it’s definitely a fun, engaging book to read