Author: J.L. Spelbring
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian / Alternate World
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
Only Ellyssa isn't perfect.The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa's spent her whole life under her creator's strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic.
Ellyssa feels emotions--a fact she's spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities.
But he does.
His unspoken words and visions of a place she's never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection.
Okay, first of all I really enjoyed this book, but in my opinion this is not a dystopian novel, it's more of an alternate world novel. To me, dystopian is the state of the world after a catastrophic or apocalyptic event. This book is more a case of what the world would be like if Hitler had been successful in creating his "perfect" Aryan race.
Ellyssa is a young woman who happens to be one of a small group of children who were created to be "perfect" humans. They have blonde hair and blue eyes and they each have a special ability bestowed upon them by their father Dr. Hirsch. They were raised in and trained in The Center. They are all efficient in what they do and they are emotionless, that is except for Ellyssa. She learned at an early age to suppress and hide her emotions from everyone.
Dr. Hirsch is just a bad guy, he is the main person behind this perceived utopia. Anyone who doesn't conform is eliminated. Those who don't meet the perfection standards are put in the roles of workers. The renegades are the ones who have been in hiding eking out an existence any way that they can. When the renegades are caught they are killed.
When a renegade is brought in to The Center he is able to "speak" to Ellyssa through telepathy, which is her particular special ability. She doesn't know what happens to him, but she has been restless for awhile, knowing that things aren't quite what they seem. Her fathers agenda is far more sinister than he leads everyone to believe. She does a little digging around and discovers things that horrify her and she knows that she needs to leave. It takes some creative thinking on her part, but she is able to get away as she follows the vague clues the renegade was able to give her.
Things move pretty quickly from this point and Ellyssa faces some pretty rough times. She finally comes to a place where she is found by a group of Renegades. There is some dissension in the group when they take her in, but she does have a few champions in the group. Rein is a wonderful character and is the perfect love interest for Ellyssa. There are some really great people in the group of renegades and Ellyssa starts to realize how good her life could really be if she is able to get away from the ones searching for her.
This story reminds me a lot of Brave New World in the beginning and then when Ellyssa finds the Renegade group it reminds me of The Host. The character of the Detective was one of those characters that you cna't help but dislike as well as most of Ellyssa's siblings. I feel like the character development was good, I liked the pace and I also liked that while there could be other books to make a series it isn't completely necessary.
If you like Alternate World/dystopian books then this is one you may enjoy. The whole idea of "what if?" is actually quite chilling if you think about it. I wouldn't hesitate to read more books by this author.
*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.