Mary Baader Kaley

Dystopian Science Fiction

If you had to endure a debilitating condition of body or mind, which would you choose? In this world, everyone suffers.

In the far-future aftermath of a genetic plague that separated human society into two different groups – sickly yet super-intelligent Subterraneans and healthy but weak-minded Omniterraneans – a brilliant Subter girl is tasked with fixing the broken genetic code to reunite the two groups in the next generation.

But when a newer plague turns fatal for the surface-dwelling Omnits, the only group able to reproduce (giving birth to both Subter and Omnit children), Zuzan must find a cure or humanity won’t simply remain divided, it will become extinct.

But there’s more conflict at hand than a broken genetic code. The fragile connection between Subters and Omnits has frayed to the point of breaking – to the point of war – and it will take more than genius to repair; it will take heart.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5) In a future world, a plague has separated people into highly intelligent but physically weak, or physically healthy but weak-minded. Because of this, the intelligent are placed underground as to not infect the healthy.

The premise alone is fascinating, I love a good dystopia! We follow Zuzan from childhood, witnessing her trials, achievements and physical and emotional abuse. The majority of the book is during her 19th year where she is hired for her intelligence to find a cure for a new plague. Her ultimate goal is to bring people back together and to rid the world of this sickness. She is brilliantly smart but caring too, which makes her the best candidate.

The ins and out of the story really came together well. The experiments and information kept from her made it so interesting. The layers that unfolded throughout her discoveries brought an extra level of intensity.

My personal preference is for fast-paced novels. While this was interesting, it was a bit more of a slow read. The information came gradually and I found myself needing a bit more to keep my attention. I felt I knew maybe 2 characters but there were so many others that I had a hard time keeping them straight. I would have loved more introduction into them to keep them separate in my head. I feel I missed a few crucial elements by not being able to connect them with previous experiences. I also felt the “love” element came without much to back it up. I was still trying to determine if their interest was mutual or not when all of a sudden the “L” word is being thrown around. He also felt extremely older, which I don’t believe he was. Just one more thing I didn’t catch!

Overall it was a fun read. The world was interesting with exciting medical technology and a great ending. I also believe it will great for adult and teen readers alike, not many books can do that!

General content summary: little to no language, ghosts of children, m/f kiss, talk of mass killings, physical violence (fists, blood, slap, multiple), emotional child abuse (some details), child physical abuse (few details), allergic reaction (life threatening, multiple details), death from allergy and violence (grief), paralyzing sedative given without permission (2x), forced tattoo that is derogatory, threat of death, possible torture (physical evidence), woman killed/missing (no details, multiple), bullying (mostly emotional but some physical, multiple), physical disability with eyes, rebels (fighting, using a rod to electrify people), attack with bombs on a building causing damage and seclusion, kidnapping, experiments on babies, plague affecting babies (details of what happens to their bodies during the plague), baby death (some details, multiple), talk of genocide, multiple in vitro fertilization and deaths, m/f kiss (2x),  a young man tackles a young woman to feel for an identifying mark on her chest, previous story of a bully burning a boy, previous fire death (no details), previous pneumonia death (no details), seizures, baby seizures (some details), virus (fever, vomiting, baby), many babies gravely ill, previous large burn injury. 

Thank you to Angry Robot and NetGalley for the gifted copy!

The book released January 10, 2023.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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