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In the future, only one rule will matter:
Don’t. Ever. Peek.
Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.
Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.
I have been so frustrated with this novel as the release date kept moving backward by months! This one has had me salivating wondering why a boy would be levitating above a girl while she sleeps. Let me tell you, you don't have to wonder for long. This book jumps right into the action and the plot shoots off from there. No time to wonder what's going on in this one, it moves at a fast pace whether it's character development, world building, or plot, this book did not dissapoint me at all!
Ari is telling the story and she's amazing. The Earth has suffered through a catastrophic nuclear war and cannot grow food for all the people that survived. There are chemists that developed food capsules that provide the nutrients that are required, but it isn't like real food. Ari is lucky, she is the daughter of the commander of the military so she has real food. Her mother is a high level chemist. And Ari is set to marry the President's son, Lawrence Cartier who she has been best friends with for years. She's also set to take over her father's position. She is tough as nails. She should be as she trains with her father every morning at 5am, hand to hand combat, weapons, agility, evasion, you name it, she's done it since she was ten. She is ready. And, she also goes through training at school, she has to be chosen to continue in the Field Ops training. And her main competition is Jackson Locke.
Jackson Locke is not as he appears to be. He is handsome, arrogant and floating above Ari's bed when she peeks. I'm not going to ruin anything by telling you why he's like that so suffice it to say, this isn't the first time. He's there for "The Taking" and you'll have to read to find out what that means. This night, he talks to her and tells her he needs to talk, tomorrow. Can you imagine that wait??? What he asks of her is betrayal of her father, her country, humankind. But the consequences would be even worse.
I love Ari! Her divided loyalties are understandable. She traverses the world of espionage and lies adroitly. The matters of the heart are a little trickier for her. She's not sure if she can trust her heart that's leaning towards Jackson, even though she's always been expected to marry Lawrence. Jackson seems trustworthy at times. But is he really? She really struggles with betraying her father, but she's also horrified with what her country is planning to do.
Lawrence and Gretchen, who are Ari's best friends aren't very well developed in this novel. You know they are good friends, but they don't play a major role in the story. Their main point I think is to show Ari's nature to protect and care for people. Her nature is to put others before herself. She is not one to take things lying down or standing up!
The plot is incredible. I thought I had things figured out and I was so disappointed that I did. Pfffht! I had nothing figured out! Melissa West leads the reader one way then throws you in not just an opposite direction but another path on that direction. I gave up trying to figure things out and just read. This book was everything I expected and more! There is just enough description to know what Earth looks like to understand, what the weapons are, what the experiments and their outcomes are, and what the training Ops are like. Those parts could easily become boring, but they aren't. Everything is just enough.
The next book can't come fast enough for me. The ending was satisfying enough but it's definitely not the end. It's just the beginning of the story. I do have to say, that it reminded me a little of The Hunger Games as I read it, but it was really different from it, too. I think it was Ari, being self sufficient, not needing to be rescued but being the rescuer in many cases. I like seeing that type of female character. And that she was poised to have a position of high power was also great.
So, who will enjoy this book? Anyone that loves Sci-fi, dystopians, post apocalyptic, strong female characters, political/military action. There is a romance and it seems like a love triangle but it isn't really. There are some scenes that are slightly sexual and there is a lot of violence but not bloody just fighting.
If you'd like to get in touch with the author, you can find her and the various places below:
Melissa West Author