A fantastically thrilling, if very dark, post-apocalyptic tale of love, loss, and survival! This book took me on a ride, from its new world of zombie-like people to the creation of superhuman beings by a power-hungry government. I loved the detail and thought the author put into this book, and it's one I could see becoming part of a series, if she chose to do that. The writing was very compelling.
The story follows the tale of two girls, Dani and Wren, who live in the same post-apocalyptic world but experience two very different sides of it. Dani is forced to watch her mother and sister killed as she and her brother are kidnapped by men from their worst nightmares. Forced into servitude as either lab rats or soldiers, they are taken to a male-only facility. Dani is soon discovered to be female, and what saves her is her ability to read and write, a rare skill in this age. She must work to keep her true gender a secret, while finding a way to break free of the prison that is her new home. Wren lives in an area separated from the death and destruction Dani grew up in. She aches to see what is beyond the wall that surrounds her town, and when she does, she is confronted by a reality that is far worse than she imagined. There she encounters a strange boy, who speaks to her without words and has scars that tell a tale of horrific torture. He is kept prisoner with the infected, but he is untouched. Wren knows that if he is to survive, she must find a way to free him. Two girls, one nightmare, and a boy who could save the world.
Dani and Wren were both fascinating characters, and thought Dani is only in the first half of the book, she is someone I felt drawn to as much as Wren. As the reader, you find out later on why that is. Wren is sheltered but knows there's more to what's out there than her secretive father lets on. The boy, named Six by Wren, is a particularly intriguing character for me, and he is the main reason I wanted to read this book. Though there were parts of their relationship that was difficult for me to read, you begin to understand why Six is so conflicted as you learn more about his background. As you connect the dots, you start to see a bigger picture than expected, and it is fascinating.
As I said before, this could easily be part of a series! I would love to read more about Wren and Six, or one of the other secondary characters mentioned in the book. This is definitely a must-read for those who love post-apocalyptic romance adventure reads, but be prepared for the horror that is often characterized in the genre. Keep the light on and the tissues handy!
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**