by Ciara Knight
Genre: Science Fiction/Steampunk
Reading Grade: Young Adult (Novella)
Publication Date: August 2012
Source: review copy by author
Age Rating: 13+
The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself. It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.
This is a short story prequel to a series of steampunk novels coming out in 2013 called The Neumarian Chronicles. From this story, I can gather some aspects of the world building and that there are two types of people against one another, Slags and Neumarians. I don't know why they fought a war or why they hate each other so much, but what happens to the protagonist, Raeth, happens because of these feuding societies.
Raeth is a Neumarian and seems to be around 12-years-old. She has some sort of ability that she needs to keep hidden from the Slags who captured her in order to find out what it is. The Slags are people with bionic body parts—cyborgs, basically. That is so cool, but they are the bad guys and they are very not cool, not even towards each other. The Queen is execution-happy and everybody smacks everybody's faces all the time. Raeth suffers torture and near death at the hands of the Queen of the Slags who is completely evil and one-dimensional, but successfully strikes fear in you.
Although, a lot of the story is confusing, it still has elements I usually am drawn to: cyborgs, a mad scientist (Raeth gets tortured by a man in a gray coat at the behest of the evil Queen), sci-fi technology and even a fantasy element in Raeth's supernatural ability. It's quite an intense read for all it's worth and really gets your appetite whetted for the future subsequent novels.
My score: 4/5 stars.
*I received a copy of this title from the author in exchange for my honest review.