The story begins with a convict, Avilon, who is released from a program known as the Specials. He has no memory of who he was before his arrest, and is literally a blank slate, a child learning about the world. My interest was sparked immediately. Right from the beginning, before his release, there are also hints of a genius level intelligence, and superhuman physical strength and endurance. Genetic enhancement is brought up. I couldn’t wait to find out more about him.
After he is released, he goes in search of the only friend he has, another convict, Jaz, who was released before him. Along the way he meets other people, the deliciously alien Durban Chola, who has an impressive command over the powers of the mind, and Charis, a young woman who teaches him things. The speed at which he assimilates and interacts with new information makes us wonder again, who is this man?
This was my first time reading sci-fi, and I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it. Being a romantic and an artist, I have always relied on visuals, as in a movie, to carry me through these technology-centered stories. But the author’s brilliant use of words, which painted intricate and vivid descriptions of the world she crafted, had the same effect. There were several WOW moments. It reminded me of The Fifth Element, a movie which also made me go, WOW!
The well-developed, multi-layered characters all face challenging choices, mainly of whom to trust, to be expected in the mob warfare setting. Different groups or coalitions all spying on each other and killing ruthlessly in mafia manner in their battle for control. How much would you do for someone you considered a friend despite the fact that they might not be honest with you?
The writing was gripping though a little wordy at times. I would catch my mind wandering, then return to the book, going back a few pages to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. It also needed another round of proofreading. There were misplaced words and punctuation throughout that were unworthy of the brilliant writing.
I would have liked to have seen more of Ignatius, a setting which had the potential to generate some characters of interest, and also the world of Sarava with the future data program which made predictions from data to control future issues in the world.
I was a little disappointed at not finding out more about Avilon’s past by the end of the book. I might have to get the first one to fill in the blanks!
If you are into sci-fi, read this book. I’m not usually into sci-fi and I loved it.