I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick, easy dystopian read that I had a hard time putting down. The story begins in a compound called Eden. The community is run by a High Priest and is based on tenants from a man named Jacob. They believe that everyone in Eden is pure and that all others are “soulless” and evil. The world fears the disease called the Red Death. When it strikes, the person dies very young and very quickly and it is believed that the person’s soul is ripped from them. Eden is protected by Guardians, who are super soldiers that protect Eden and patrol the walls surrounding Eden, killing anyone that strays too close.
Aaliss is a 17 year old Guardian. She has an older brother Piers, who is a priest, and a younger brother Wilky, who is odd but very gifted. When Wilky discovers a cure for the Red Death, he and Aaliss are deemed traitors by the High Priest after they stumble onto the priest’s plan concerning the cure. They flee Eden with a “soulless” prisoner, Gemma. The High Priest sends a deadly assassin, the Viper after them. Will Aaliss and Wilky contract the Red Death now that they have had contact with a “soulless”? Will they escape the Viper?
The group runs to Gemma’s home, where her brother Dermot is the King. Dermot has just come down with the Red Death and will soon die. The King’s brother, Eamon, asks Aaliss and Wilky to help him gather the ingredients for the cure and they leave the stronghold. Along the way the group encounters other bands of people from the country and learn of more threats that face what they know, as well as the larger world around them.
The author does a good job establishing the characters and making the reader care about them. The worldbuilding isn’t extensive, but is sufficient enough that the reader understands what is going on and why certain events are significant. The book wraps up some storylines nicely, but also leaves a couple juicy cliffhangers that leave the reader wanting more. I will definitely read the next book in the series, The Ghost King which will be released in the spring/summer of 2017.