by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
I’ve come up with a tagline for this: It’s what’d you get if you mashed an environmental dystopian novel with “Firefly.”
It’s a future where, due to environmental changes, the world flooded and then froze, and those who survived did so by either stubbornness or by selling their soul to the military that controls the government of the RSA — the Remaining States of America. It’s a tough world, one where you get by on luck and with a quick wit and a faster gun.
Nat is one of the survivors in this world, and she’s found herself in New Vegas, working as a blackjack dealer. Except she’s one of the Marked: a race of people with special powers, who have been marked on their body some way. That makes them ripe for persecution; the military, especially, seems hellbent on exterminating them. Nat was caught, once, but managed to escape. And now her powers — voices in her head, really — have her set on finding the Blue: a place where the sun shines and the grass grows.
For that, she enlists Wes, a captain of a crew and a ship, a mercenary with a heart of gold. Why, yes, he is Captain Mal and Han Solo rolled into one. He’s charming and captivating, saucy and sly; everything you’d expect a 19-year-old mercenary in a dystopian world to be. And yeah, there is a romance. But I didn’t mind that.
Oh, one more thing, and it’s a little bit of a spoiler: that dragon in the O? It means something. And when it shows up, it makes the book that much better. It’s not a amazing book, but it is a lot of fun.
Rated: Mild. There’s some tension and a bit of violence, but mostly it’s pretty clean.