320p. ebook available. Holiday House. May 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780823429493. LC 2013022884.
Gr 7 Up—In a decaying world, Eden stands alone in its prosperity. Ruled by the seemingly benevolent Trust, those lucky enough to be born within the city's white walls are ensured a life of ease. Tess Rockwood turns her back on this paradise when her mother is killed by an artilect, a powerful being with artificial intelligence. She flees to the hellish Badlands, where life is cheap and water expensive. But when Tess learns that her uncle is working on a new artilect named Aevum, she agrees to return to Eden and join the Kudzu rebel group in their efforts to stop Aevum and the Trust. Tess's mission is complicated by her family ties and her growing feelings for her uncle's assistant, Hunter. These complications also make Tess uniquely suited to stop the Trust's genocidal plans. Clark builds a world with a good balance of the familiar and the fantastic. The technology feels like a natural extrapolation from today's trends, while still evoking a sense of wonder. There are a number of social issues weaved into the narrative—such as sustainability and income inequality—though Clark avoids easy answers. The personal stakes run parallel to the global, with the central romance deftly tied to the fate of Eden and the Badlands. While many of the secondary characters fall into stock types, Tess and Hunter are well drawn and complex, each harboring secrets that result in some surprising plot twists. Readers who eagerly followed the rebellions against Panem's Capitol and Divergent's Erudites will root for Tess and her Kudzu allies.—Tony Hirt, Hennepin County Library, MN
After her scientist mother's death, Tess fled Eden--where water is fresh and pure--to live in the arid Badlands. Joining a rebel group, she must return to Eden and destroy technology her mother created that would annihilate the Badlands' population. The plot moves quickly but at the expense of characterization, and stiff dialogue leaves the romance (with Tess's uncle's assistant) lacking.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing