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Marie Lu
ISBN 9780399256752
Putnam/Penguin, 2011.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: dystopia legend marie-lu plague romance war

by Marie Lu

This chilling debut novel imagines a near future world in which no one is truly safe. Plague devastates the poverty-stricken classes. Only the military and the wealthy receive inoculations against the ever-evolving disease. But even the privileged fear the Patriots’ attempts to overthrow the government.

An examination determines the fate of every 10-year-old in the Republic. If children test well enough, they enter the military, and if not, to the labor camps they go. Only one child has been known to receive a perfect score: June Iparis. She is one of two 15-year-olds who narrate this tale. The other, Day, was told he had failed his exam and escaped his fate. He now roams the streets as “the Republic’s most-wanted criminal.” How these two born enemies meet—and discover they share and even greater common threat—makes for riveting reading.

This suspenseful book comes to a satisfying close, but leaves enough unanswered questions to bring readers back for answers in the next installment.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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