by Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited #1
Published by: HarperCollins
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer. When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone. Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly. The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann
I actually received the ARC of Uninvited by Sophie Jordan last year and set it aside for review closer to the release date. Then in October I reviewed a wonderful NA contemporary romance called Foreplay by new to me author Sophie Jordan who also writes historical romances for Avon, HarperCollins. When I realized they were the same author I was both nervous and excited. I knew she could write breathtakingly beautiful contemporary romances but could she wow this lover of dystopians? The answer, my friends, is yes! She gave me an intense, bone-chillingly realistic future world with interesting characters. Mini-review: Thought-provoking, eerily plausible and exciting beginning to this duology.
Uninvited is set in the United States and begins in the year 2021. Testing has been ongoing regarding the gene HTS or Homicidal Tendency Syndrome. Davy Hamilton is a senior, who is exceptional both academically and musically. In fact, she has already been accepted into Juilliard. All of that changes, when her mother calls and tells her to come home immediately. Davy has tested positive for HTS. Overnight she is expelled from private school, her boyfriend ditches her and her friends and family fear her. Davy doesn’t feel different, but her life is about to change drastically.
Jordan gave us characters that both fit our perception of what someone with homicidal tendency syndrome would be/act like and those who didn’t creating a unique group of characters. The tale is told from Davy’s perspective, and we get to experience everything first hand through her. She is a likable character with a strong moral compass. Before she is classified, her understanding of those that carry HTS is a regurgitation of government propaganda and television’s sensationalism. We see her grow and comprehend as the tale progresses. Davy could have acted like a spoiled brat but instead she strives to achieve, not to gloat on the “what could haves” but to better herself and those around her. While she is still naïve, she does listen to advice and continually shows growth. Sean is another carrier who befriends her, looks out for her and tries to make her understand the brutal, harsh reality of her new life. Sean’s life resembles the classic profile of someone who moves in and out of the criminal system. Family members, her past friends, and new team mates all enhance the tale and give us a clearer picture of the world. While we are privy to interviews, newspaper clipping, and internal government documents I would have really liked to have PoV’s from other characters. The characters as a whole were interesting, but I felt this was more of a plot driven tale. My hope is that she expands on the characters going forward.
Uninvited was brilliantly constructed and engaging. Jordan began the tale before Davy’s life changed allowing us to get a panoramic view and feel for what was occurring in this futuristic society. News reports, friend’s reactions, police reports, all made us privy to the chaos. Jordan’s depiction of Davy, before, during and as she becomes part of the system is what made this dystopian for me. Often dystopians result in from escaped viruses or a catastrophic event, but we engineered this world ourselves. While I didn’t easily connect with the characters, I think it was the author’s intention. Instead, we saw the world shift as these characters went from human to animal. It was at times raw and brutal making me cringe and question humanity. It was eerily plausible, and it caused me to think about current laws in government, current testing, and zero tolerance rules that border on ridiculousness in our public schools. Nature vs. Nurture, social cleansing, and society as a whole are all called into question. It will cause you to think of our own history and fanatic rulers who wanted to rid our world of undesirables. There is a slight romance with moments of attraction, racing hearts and blushing. It developed slowly from friendship, need, and trust. It felt genuine while remaining firmly in the background. The story had ebb and flow to it that allowed me to absorb and reflect as Jordan slowly began to increase the tension. I began reading, and the next moment I looked up to discover I had consumed the first half in one sitting. The last portion of this book was intense, and the ending cut off at the perfect point. After the climax, she brought us back down and cooled us off leaving us with a sense of direction for the next book.
Fans of the dystopian genre will appreciate the unique and fresh take of Uninvited. Between Foreplay and Uninvited Sophia Jordan has become a must read author for me, and I look forward to devouring more of her work. At this time, no information is available for the sequel.
Four cups of coffee out of five
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