Now that I have had time to process everything this book left me feeling, I really have to say that it was fantastic. When I first started it, I was really questioning the direction it was heading. It seemed like a YA author stretching to make a statement about good vs. evil. It was so much more than that.
Rem, a gay teen, is struggling to put himself back together after watching Franklin Kettle murder one of his best friends right in front of him just one year after he lost his brother in the war. He is fooling around Tor, his closeted friend who also happens to be dating his other friend. He still has nightmares about witnessing a brutal murder when his “mad scientist” mother develops an experimental procedure that implants a node that is meant to cure the violent, sociopathic behaviors of individuals, and she wants to use Franklin kettle as a test subject.
That is when things become a roller coaster for Rem. He is thrust into socializing with Franklin because his mother wants data. After the procedure, Franklin is different. He really has changed to the point where Rem is starting to develop some weird feelings for Franklin. When Rem finds out some shifty information about his mother and another student dies, he begins to questions everything.
This book takes twists and turns at every possible chance. I thought I knew the end like 5 times, but everything would change with certain tidbits of information. It really was a thriller right up until the end.
Even though the majority of the characters were white, I still felt like there was some diversity and inclusiveness involved. It also probably shows the realistic depiction of smaller city life in Minnesota. They were also evolved characters. I never once thought that a character was overly precocious or obviously an adult trying to be a teen. These characters were well planned and executed with precision. I also think there was a semi-healthy amount of adult involvement, which can be hard to balance in a sci-fi, thriller, YA novel.
I have no expertise when it comes to neurology and/or sociopathic behaviors, but I feel like this book didn’t give too much information about it make it seems too clinical. This can make a book seem too realistic to be sci-fi or too unrealistic to ever happen. It had just enough believable science that it made me wonder what the future holds.
I can seriously say that this is quite the plot. I plan on reading Willful Machines and everything else Tim Floreen throws our way.