*I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
From the very beginning I loved the feel of this book and the voice of the main character, Syl. She was gritty, raw, and rough around the edges, but not overly so. She just really came to life, and her voice stood out to me and felt so genuine. She’s had a tough life of living in sewers and fighting off giant half-human/half-bug creatures in order to hunt and scavenge for food, but her rough edges actually made her likeable.
Then there was Bastion.
I hear the insult behind her carefully concocted words: greedy whore.
I smile at her attempt to hurt me. It’s not an insult if it’s a fact.
“It’s not a party until there’s a double homicide, I suppose.”
Seriously, this guy.
Definitely the most intriguing and sassy android I’ve ever read about, and I loved it. And his voice was so different from Syl’s, providing a nice contrast.
Also, apparently I’ve been getting really bad about having expectations for books, but it has once again worked in my favor. I was expecting this book to be kind of instalove-y and typical romance-y, but instead the story itself was gritty and dirty (literally—lots of sewers and blood and filth), and it really only had a hint of romance in it. Yes, something about Syl compelled Bastion to help her, and Syd clearly felt something toward him too, but that’s about as far as it went. It was more like a setup for future romance because you can tell that there will be something between those two, but the focus was really on the androids, the society, the psychopathic leader, the experiments, etc.
Another great thing—I’m not usually a fan of detailed world building, but this was incredible! The settings, the backstory, the food, the creatures, the technology—there was so much thought put into everything, and it showed in all the little details, everything from the creepy way the Cull repeat words they hear to the hallucinogenic moss.
And of course I have to mention the amazing cover!
The ending pushed my suspension of disbelief a bit and conflicted with my personal beliefs, but it left a lot of interesting possibilities for the next book, which I’m looking forward to.
I hadn’t read anything this sci-fi (I mean, genetic engineering, androids, other planets, and a dystopian society) in a while, and I had never read anything classified as cyberpunk, but I am so glad I gave this book a read because the amazing world building, gritty story, and compelling character voices really pulled me in!
Sci-fi lovers who also enjoy some romance and don't mind violence and a couple possibly disturbing scenes. Readers who like world building and gritty characters with strong voices.