Rating: 4 out of 5.

4.5 stars

This is a fantastic first book in an exciting YA Fantasy/SciFi series. There is a strong, flawed female lead, complicated relationships, creepy monsters and plenty of action. It’s a quick read and I couldn’t put it down.

This is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the residents live among the ruins of a fallen society much like ours. The entire continent has been conquered by the Karensa Federation, except the small nation of Mara. While the rest of the Federation is more advanced than Mara and has more resources, Mara struggles. In addition to more soldiers and weapons, Karensa has used found technology to turn people into mutant war beasts called Ghosts.

Talin is a refugee living in Mara that lost her voice when she fled her country as it was being invaded by the Karensa Federation. Despite immigrants typically being forbidden to be a member of the Strikers, the elite fighting force, Talin’s hard work and friendship with a member of the upper class earned her a spot. She is an elite fighter, but this doesn’t make her accepted on the team.

When a mysterious prisoner is brought before the Strikers to be tortured and executed, Talin sees something in him that she believes should be saved. But is he a Federation spy, or someone that could be used as a weapon against it?

The book is a pretty typical YA Fantasy/SciFi book, but the author writes this genre so well that it’s easy to get lost in the story and before you know it, you’re done. At first I thought Talin being unable to speak would slow the story down, but it doesn’t. Talin’s Striker friends are good, solid secondary characters that have their own personality, even though they aren’t completely fleshed out. There is another secondary character that plays a big role in the book that I can’t wait to (hopefully) find out more about it in the next book. (I won’t say more so I don’t blurt out any spoilers).

This is a great book that I highly recommend you read. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!