Book Review: THE HIDDEN BASE by A. E. Warren

Title in blue on purple with black trees
Genre: Dystopia
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 3 stars
Series: yes - book two

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for SUBJECT TWENTY-ONE*

Synopsis:

Book cover for THE HIDDEN BASE: title in blue on purple with tree borders

After a perilous escape, Elise and her companions have made it to the safety of the secret fifth base, Uracil, but her family is still in danger. Desperate to secure them passage and a safe place to live, she makes a deal with the leaders of Uracil – she’ll become their spy, jeopardising her own freedom in the process.

But first she has to help rescue the next Neanderthal, Subject Twenty-Two.

Twenty-Two has never left the confines of the steel walls that keep her separated from the other exhibits. She has no contact with the outside world and no way of knowing why she has been abandoned. With diminishing deliveries of food and water, she has to start breaking the museum’s rules if she wants a second chance at living.

One belongs to the future and the other to the past, but both will need to adapt – or neither will survive.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

THE HIDDEN BASE is the second instalment in this sci-fi leaning dystopia series. I really like the setting and the way the series approaches the societal consequences genetic engineering. This book took me back into the world.

However, the book did very much feel like a “filler” book – mostly designed to get characters into new places and introduce new ones in time for the next. It didn’t feel like a book that stood very much on its own. The goal isn’t really achieved by Elise (rather others do it for her) and then there’s a long section where not much happens and time passes.

We get to see two new bases – the hidden base of the title, Uracil, and Cytosine. After one book spent entirely in Thyanine, it was nice to spread out more, even if Cytosine was very similar to Thyanine (because we were in a museum for a lot of it.) The (subtle) politics of Uracil were a highlight and I hope to see more in the books to come. They are definitely not a utopia, and I hope that the characters are able to push for change in the coming books now they’re a bit more settled.

There is a new POV in this book, Twenty-Two, another Neanderthal. It was interesting to see another perspective, this time from the other side of the museum line, and it also filled in some of the blanks about what was happening elsewhere.

However, her narration used some very modern and sophisticated language and metaphors, despite the fact that she’s never been outside of her (carefully controlled) museum pod and her information flow was carefully kept to near minimum. It made the language stand out as inauthentic, kept jerking me out of her POV, and I never really felt like I got a handle on who she was, because I was never convinced that she was the one talking (despite being told it was her.) Plus it made her sound so similar to Elise, whereas some more attention to the exact words used would have helped ground her and separate her from Elise.

Onto the next book (I believe the third of four?) which I’m hoping is more revolution-based as it’s got a burning cover!


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

Tomorrow’s Ancestors (this series):

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