My rating: 2 of 5 stars
“I know you didn’t ask to be on the front lines of this thing, Logan, but you are… Whatever Peck is doing, it’s serious. Killing the Marked — and attacking a DOME agent — is serious!”
Logan has been nervous about getting the Mark — a sign of citizenship and adulthood — ever since his sister went to get hers and disappeared. When he tells his new friend, Erin, about what happened, she connects it with her father’s top secret work at DOME — the Department of Marked Emergencies — and soon they’re trailing a group of Markless fugitives who they think will lead them to answers about the mysterious disappearances of about-to-be-marked teens.
For a middle grade novel, this was alright. It was easy to read and the plot kept moving forward at a reasonable pace. Logan was a relatable main character, albeit a bit paranoid — while at the same time incredibly trusting of people, to the point of gullibility. The author succeeded in setting a vivid scene for the novel — you could easily place yourself in Logan’s city, and the new technological gadgets were fun to read about.
For a YA novel, however, it lacked depth and originality. The whole concept of an all-supreme government severely limiting freedoms and doing unjust things to its people to maintain order has been done time and again (most recently with The Hunger Games, Matched, and Divergent). Many of the characters were simply unrealistic and flat, and the attempt at a “love triangle” was just awkward and had no emotional depth to it at all. It’s also one of those novels where the kids are brilliant sleuths, but the adults are ignorant dolts whom the kids repeatedly hide things from because “they won’t believe us,” a middle grade/YA ploy that never fails to irritate me.
Overall: Could be a good “consolation prize” for those too young and impressionable to read “The Hunger Games,” but probably a little bland for most YA dystopian fans.