An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

contains spoilers

I'm so glad I picked this book for Halloween. While I'm not really into horror, thriller or anything particularly scary, the choice for the scariest day of the year was a tremendous one!

I'd like to start by saying - sooooo many dead bodies! It was so gruesome, but obviously that's a bit part of the plot. If you're reading this and you haven't read the book yet, well, you've been warned. 

So we have our main character, Meadow. Now, these kind of names, as we have a various selection of unusual ones. Meadow, Periwinkle, Koi, for example. Le sigh... but I did try and not let it get to me, and I'm glad Periwinkle was shortened to Peri, making it seem more ordinary. Anyway, moving on from names, we have our main girl. Meadow. She was a fantastic protagonist! Of course, the main interest for her is protecting those who she loves, they're living in a world where you're very likely to be murdered, it's just a matter of time, pretty much. But she manages to secure herself a job and work in the food rations department, considering the food is short and people are only limited to how much they can have on a daily basis. I won't be comparing it to the Hunger Games, not everything dystopian is like The Hunger Games. (I always wonder what everyone was comparing books to before Ms Collins wrote those books..) 
Meadow is strong and determined, she can fight her own battles as her father taught her. He's quite rough with her, sometimes physically hurting her so she learns a lesson, but it seems to work. I did wonder if something was going to come out about him but of course, it was more about her deceased mother.

Then she meets Zephyr. He's not just a regular guy, his life being pretty much a complete lie, and my heart hurt for him so bad. All he wants is a family, and he wants Meadow. I liked these two together, although the poor guy messing it up because he attempts to murder her - not his fault - but it all becomes clear why. His terrible sadness over the fact that his own past and memories were all fed to him, he's not even human, was so heartbreaking, and he really struggles to wrap his head around it. I can't wait to see what he's going to be up to in book two, he has a lot of potential to do some great things. He can pretty much override the brainwashing, and know he knows everything that he knows, Zephyr will kick some serious arse. 

The whole situation with Meadow's mother was so interesting. I didn't expect her to be alive this whole time! Talk about a shock! And not only have they been hiding her and starving her, her body nearly dead, she's actually a horrible woman. She sacrificed not only her own life but her daughters life for the sake of this terrible plan they had, the Murder Complex. Keeping the population down and making real people, turning them into killers and switching them on and off whenever they want, feeding them fake memories so they think they're real humans. I don't like her. I know she'll be causing all kinds of trouble in the next book, so I can't wait for that!

I also have to bring up the sadness that is Zephyr's best friend. How she died was tragic. Being thrown into a furnace! I can't imagine how terrible it must be to die that way, being burnt alive in a place where everyone else around you got thrown into after being hacked to death. And poor Zephyr for having to witness it. She did that for them, so they can get into the building and survive. It's dreadful, she was such a good character too!

Constantly entertaining, gruesome at times with the detailed descriptions of the smell and look of these dead bodies, tragic and heartbreaking. I don't read books like these but this one, I loved. Very well done to Lindsay Cummings for her fantastic book and talented writing skills.

Five stars.