Every now and then, we get the awesome opportunity to read and review a book that fans of The Hunger Games may love.
Today, we’re checking out a new YA release from author Lindsay Cummings, The Murder Complex. The book is on sale starting TODAY and features all the staples of a good dystopian: corrupt governments, mysterious back stories, and steely characters out to save society (and themselves).
In the not-so-distant future, Meadow Woodson and Zephyr James live in a world of turmoil. When the cure to disease was discovered, the world thought it was a godsend. Instead, it led to overpopulation and desolation as the government collapsed and citizens fought over the quickly dissipating resources. Our protagonists are born into a police state that hardly manages to keep its people alive on the feeble rations they offer, but insists that it’s for their own safety and makes it impossible to escape.
It should be no surprise that under such a strict regime, the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. But as Meadow and Zephyr learn, it’s more than just coincidence.
If you like tough chicks who tell it like it is and will do anything to survive, you’re going to love Meadow. She is one of few who come from a mostly in tact family, mainly due to her father’s aggressive survivalist training. It comes in handy in a society where everyone is trying to kill you for your possessions and Meadow takes it all very seriously after the death of her mother. While not always the most relatable character, she is calculating and efficient in her survival skills as she navigates through her new job as a government lackey and slowly discovers their disturbing secrets. She doesn’t always seem phased by the moral dilemmas she faces, still you can’t help but root for her. Her soft side comes out through her relationship with her family, especially her little sister, Peri, who is a bit more fragile, but those moments are pretty rare. If you dig Katniss and Prim moments, you’ll probably feel the same about Meadow and Peri.
Despite coming from a much more complex background, Zephyr is the vulnerable character everyone will really relate to. Though he knows how be tough, he doesn’t necessarily want to be. Where Meadow is naturally hard-edged, Zephyr has a gooey center full of feels. As a ward of the state, he is forced to clean up and dispose of bodies after murders in the community. What his friends don’t know is this: He’s also committed quite a few of them. Of course, it’s not because he wants to. Something snaps in his mind and forces him to do it. Unlike Meadow, killing bothers him immensely. And he’s on a mission to stop himself from killing again, no matter what it takes.
When their two worlds collide, the action unfolds rapidly as they encounter more danger than ever before. The action is really enjoyable. Meadow and Zephyr make a great team and the characters surrounding them give the story personality, especially Koi, Orion, and Talan. The back story can be a bit hard to follow at times, but the story’s slow reveals are a great way that the author amps up the tension and suspense.
While The Murder Complex sometimes feels reminiscent of other books we’ve read, it’s a really strong debut from Lindsay Cummings that may just gather up its own fandom among YA book lovers!
Want some more great book suggestions? Check out the VV Recommendations page!