Kyla has been in hospital for a long time. She been slated: her mind wiped. She is a new person, with a family she has never seen before and brand new life in the countryside. Kyla has been told by the government that she was a terrorist and slating is her second chance at life, but between strange, disturbing dreams and a few odd events, things don’t quite add up.
I really enjoyed this book. Terry’s use of language is really interesting and the storytelling vivid. I also found that the English countryside was a really good contrast to the futuristic setting of a lot of similar books.
Kyla is a believable character and her defiance and sense of herself in spite of everything is really well-handled. There is also an interesting thread in there about the nature of creativity. I found Ben extremely compelling, although his motivations were possibly not explored in as much detail as I would have liked. Kyla’s mother is brilliantly nuanced and emotionally complex, adding to Kyla’s character development whilst also adding some political/social background to events.
There is a sense of foreboding and things only partially revealed throughout the novel, which adds to the feeling, never quite appeased, that nobody is as they seem.
The dream sequences are great and are sufficiently ambigious to create intrigue whilst still managing to connect to the story in a clear way.
The themes of nature vs nuture and rehabilitation vs punishment in relation to the slating process were very interesting. What if we could wipe the minds of criminals? Are you a sum of your memories, or is there something else that makes you “you”? The control of emotions after the slating process using a Levo is an interesting plot device, and made me think about the link between emotion, memory and behaviour.
My only criticism of this book is that I think it tailed off slightly towards the end. Although the first in a series, I felt frustrated by the myriad unanswered questions/loose ends and thought that perhaps something was slightly lacking in the ending. That said, my frustration proves that I am sufficiently intrigued to want to read the second book; indeed, perhaps that is the point!