Pages: 249 Paperback
Release Date: April 7th 2015
Buy it From: Amazon UK
Fourteen-year-old Cassie is different from most people, and The Establishment wants her eliminated. Her brother Dan has been sent on a desert expedition and is already missing, presumed dead. Her dad is acting strangely and her mum has told Cassie that they must escape to 'the outside'. Travelling separately to avoid detection, Cassie has to cope alone.
But she doesn't understand why this is all happening to her. She doesn't know where to go, how to get there, or who to trust.
As Cassie makes her way towards the outside, she is pursued by members of The Establishment. Fighting for survival she discovers that the world is not as it seems...
This story follows siblings Cassie and Dan on the start of separate journeys. Cassie has been separated from her mother, and she believes that Dan is dead. Dan is part of an expedition team who are searching for a water source, and none of the team members are yet aware of the fact that The Establishment has informed their families that they're dead.
We follow Cassie's journey in first person, and Dan's in third. I'm usually not a huge fan of books that have split narratives/tenses, but it worked brilliantly for this story and keeps us readers toes. I much preferred having two different locations and plots to follow.
Cassie is searching for her mum, and on her journey she meets a wonderful variety of characters who help her on her way. Because we don't learn much about them, I'd love to hear from them again in further instalments of the series. Throughout the story, Cassie has recurring dreams about a girl who's face she doesn't yet know, and it adds an element of mystery until the end.
Dan is on an expedition with four other team members, including Chloe, who's boyfriend died on a previous expedition. Because of the loss she has suffered, she is protective of her team and acts almost like a mother to them in order to avoid a repeat experience. I really enjoyed the bond that started to form between her and Dan as they shared more scenes together. The team have only ever known the ways of The Establishment, so it's exciting when they finally start to discover the truth.
The relationship between Cassie and Dan is touching to see when they finally get reunited. I can't wait to see the pair of the them getting to work together in the future of the series, because I just know they'll make a fantastic team.
I found most of the secondary characters highly intriguing, especially Peter., one of Dan's fellow teammates. I have no idea which direction his personal story is taking him, but I am keen to find out. I'd also love to find out more about Mack and Sam, the two remaining members of The Expedition.
What I really wanted to learn more about was The Establishment itself. I felt like this book only gave a basic knowledge of how they came to be. Although I knew that the characters had reason to fear them, I wanted to see more of that threat, so I'd definitely like to learn more about the leaders and their plans, and see more of the atrocities that take place behind closed doors. The pills that are mentioned throughout the story were fascinating and showed exactly what The Establishment is capable of, so I'd love to see more of that in this series.
Deverell sets up her world strongly from the start, giving you a clear picture of the Zones and the way things are run. This book is perfect for anyone who loves dystopia, and it's always great to see a good UKYA dystopian novel. With an exciting plot and well-developed characters, this is a thrilling world to lose yourself in.