Seventeen years ago the aliens — now called the House of Lords — took out all the world’s major cities, instantly killing billions of people. They planted what have come to be known as Icons near 13 of the major cities left — including Moscow, Paris, and L.A. — to keep control over the rest of the human population. The humans never see them (the Rebellion calls them the No Face); their only interaction with the House of Lords is through the Ambassadors in the cities.
Dol is a survivor of that day, though she doesn’t know why. She’s been living in relative safety at an orphanage outside of L.A. — called the Hole now. Her most curious traits: the one gray dot on her wrist and her ability to read other people’s thoughts and emotions. Her best friend is Ro, who is another anomaly like her: he has two red dots and a propensity for fighting. They don’t think much of their powers until Dol’s 17th birthday, when the Embassy captures them and brings them in for “tests.” There they meet two others like them: the ambassador’s son, Lucas (three dots; can charm people into doing what he wants) and Tima (four dots; she’s called the Freak, but her talent — aside from shocking people with huge bursts of electricity when she’s angry — isn’t really explained). Together the four of them may be able to push back against the aliens who have kept the world hostage for so long.
On the one hand, I really liked Stohl’s vision of the alien invasion. It wasn’t little green men, and I appreciated that she left everything so vague. In many ways that was more intense. I liked the idea of the Icons, and the civilization that sprung up around them. I wanted her to spend more time there. And, to tell the truth, less on Dol. Because she grated on me (as did the love triangle. Really. *sigh*). In fact, I’m not sure I really liked any of the characters; they were all pretty bland. Even with the bland characters and predictable love story, the world building was enough to keep me interested and curious enough to wonder where Stohl is going to go next.
Rated: Mild, for some mild swearing and intense moments.