Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopia Age Range: YA Star Rating: 3/5 stars Series: Yes - book 1
In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
Ever since I first heard about this book, I’ve wanted to read it simply because I was hearing about how it’s got a science-based magic system. The first chapter excerpt I shared as part of the Xpresso Tours Book Blitz made me want to read the rest all the more. It’s also been quite hyped, and I wonder if I let that get to me.
The magic was fun – I loved the way it was manipulated once Noam had it. I had a slight geek out about the way he used the moving charges to create telekinesis. There is only one scene that I would actually call science-y magic, because after that he (largely) just uses it. This is probably in part to make the book faster paced (do we really want half a page about the science in the middle of an action scene) and also because it shows how easy the magic is coming.
I had a hard time deciding the star rating of this book because, while I enjoyed it, the ‘twists’ seemed so inevitable and glaringly obvious from the get go. This meant that I spent the entire book wondering why Noam couldn’t figure it out. Some of his decisions, thanks to this were frustrating. I knew he was playing into X’s hand, and wanted to shake his blind trust out of him.
A good twist shouldn’t come out of the blue, but rather should be foreshadowed throughout the story. This does means that sometimes a twist is expected, but I don’t expect to predict a betrayal (that is supposed to have emotional weight) from the first time I meet the character. The reason was because it was such a cliche twist – a certain type of character who seems to only ever betray in YA books these days.
This meant that, by the time of the big reveal, I was a little switched off because I knew it was coming and just didn’t care so much about Noam finally finding out. This meant I found the section after the reveal really confusing. I’m just not sure what happened in the penultimate chapter, or why Noam just… sat there.
In all, a fun read, but the obviousness of the twists sucked the suspense from it.
Read my reviews of other books by Victoria Lee:
Feverwake (this series):
- THE ELECTRIC HEIR (#2)