As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.
The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway
Oh! wow...!! The book managed to surprise me.Frankly,I didn't find the cover or the blurb exciting.I usually prefer nicely developed romance novels or books with intense emotion. This book has no paranormal element in it and is rather gritty.My reaction after reading the book was :
The book is nicely written with an explanation for everything. Though the explanations may not be the best in all cases but they are in most cases, satisfactory.
Let me start with the book summary:
When Alenna Shawcross is 10 years old her parents are arrested by the military police and she ends up becoming a ward of the United Northern Alliance and leading a life in a govt. run Orphanage . It is a rule of the state that all the kids no matter what their background have to undergo Government Personality Profile Test—GPPT when they turn 16.Its a test that predicts a propensity for criminal activity years in advance and can identify potential murderers, rapists, thieves, and psychopaths before they act on their impulses.The test is performed by injecting a serum and scanning the brain. The kids who fail the test are labelled “Unanchored Souls” and considered to be potentially harmful and are transferred/deported to an island where the expectancy of life is 18 years.Alenna goes for the test and is shocked when she wakes up on the island after her test.The island is called "The Wheel" by its inhabitants and is divided into 6 sectors.These sectors can be basically categorised into 3 categories:
The grey area:off limits to most of the inhabitants.The scientific hub of the govt. with labs,industrial buildings and airstrips.
The blue sector:inhabited by a group of kids who have built a new version of life in the wild conditions by uniting their talents and division of chores.
The Monk ruled region:A mysterious person called "The Monk" controls four sectors—orange, purple, yellow, and red.
The inhabitants of the blue sector and the Monk controlled sectors are constantly at war with each other.
Alenna and others of the blue sector realise that despite all their effort they are barely able to survive i.e they are merely existing on the island but it can't be called living.Also,they may not be able to escape the mysterious death causing disease prevalent in the island forever. So they decide to cross the boundary into the grey area which might hold the answer to their escape.And thus they embark on a journey full of challenges and fraught with danger.Eventually they uncover the truth regarding the real reason the got sent to Prison Island Alpha.
The flow of the story was good.The story was fast paced and action packed which kept me hooked.The were a lot of twists and turns which kept me from loosing interest.The end was nicely packed up too.There were many questions that were answered in the end which gave the story a lot more substance as compared to the initial lame reasoning.
The romance wasn't something well developed.They had known each other for hardly a few days and they fall in love..?? Also,despite the fact that they used to play as kids it certainly did not explain an instant rapport.How can it when they don't even remember it...? It seemed to me more like a case of mutual crush which came out in the form of the words :"I love you" in desperate circumstances. Who knows may be the harsh environment and the difficult living conditions made them understand each other enough to fall in love..or maybe...they understood just enough to fall in love and will undergo character development during the course of their relationship.Perhaps in the course of their relationship they will come to understand each other better and will learn to make adjustments and allowances for each other as well.Oh..! Now I am running away with my imagination..!
Allena is just like any other average girl, nothing much special,which in my words makes her real and easy to relate to.She wasn't a skilled fighter or had the grit for it in the beginning but the harsh circumstances in the island shaped her into one.The only difference b/w the kids on the island and the others is that their genetic make-up is able to resist the sedating chemicals that the government puts in the thought-pills. Other than that they are just normal kids.That's what made it a special read for me.
To sum it all up,I found it to be a worthy read and I am really curious about what will happen in the next book.