Blog Tour Book Review: SUBJECT TWENTY ONE by A. E. Warren

I received a review copy from the publishers as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Blog tour banner with title next
Genre: Sci-fi/dystopia
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book of duology


Book cover for SUBJECT TWENTY ONE: title in yellow on grey above outline of girl against yellow biome with black rainforest around

Elise’s world is forever changed when she is given the opportunity of a lifetime – to work at the Museum of Evolution and be a Companion to the Neanderthal, Subject Twenty-One.

As a Sapien, a member of the lowest order of humans, she and others like her are held responsible for the damages inflicted on the world by previous generations. This job may be Elise’s only chance to escape a stagnating life in an ostracised and impoverished community.

But it doesn’t take long for Elise to realise that, away from the familiarity and safety of her home, her own secrets are much harder to conceal.

And the longer she stays the more she comes to realise that little separates her from the exhibits . . . and a cage of her own. 

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


SUBJECT TWENTY ONE straddles the sci-fi/dystopia line. There’s a focus on genetic engineering and reversing extinction, but also on the far-from-ideal (or fair) society Elise lives in that makes her a third class citizen for the crimes of her ancestors, and hiding unusual abilities.

It’s a snappy little read, under 300 pages (a smol in some readers’ parlance) but with a lot of plot crammed in as Elise gets to know subject twenty one and the museum staff.

Sign language is a major part of the book. Elise’s brother is deaf and the Neanderthals can’t pronounce the same sounds as homosapiens, so they use sign language to bridge the communication gap. It was an interesting consideration that I wouldn’t have thought of.

Clearly, a lot of research has been done into the lives and habits of the Neanderthals to write this book (and other extinct animals) to pepper it with facts that make the museum tour and displays feel realistic. Plus, the Neanderthals themselves have to be re-created, both aesthetically and how they lived (as the museum has a rule that they must live as close to their historical counterparts as possible)

Something I appreciated (and my mother, despite being the biochemist of the family, did not because it was “your-sort-of-book weird names”) was that the four population bases (aka cities) were named after the four DNA bases. It’s the sort of little nerdy detail that reinforces the society’s focus on genetics while also being a little treat for nerds. There is one base reveal that made me grin.

The second book in this 4 book series, THE HIDDEN BASE, is out on the same day as SUBJECT TWENTY ONE, so I don’t have to wait to continue it!

Read my reviews of other books by A. E. Warren:

Tomorrow’s Ancestors (this series):

Blog tour banner with list of participating bloggers in white on red next to image of book

2 thoughts on “Blog Tour Book Review: SUBJECT TWENTY ONE by A. E. Warren

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