The year is 2873. Sometime in the past “the whole world was starving” and the current system had been set up. Slaves worked below ground and the Nobles above gave them all their necessities in exchange for their work. (55) There are dorms and a complex system of tunnels that allow the slaves to go to their places of work. Hidden panels in the Nobles' rooms provide the slaves access to the rooms from the tunnels.
Twelve years ago Monica had been saved from death, just as the deadly vapors enveloped the underground. (If rebellion is detected, the dome over the above ground city is closed and all the people, Nobles and slaves, are gassed to death.) Raised by people other than her parents, she is the only slave who does not have a microchip embedded at the rear of her skull. All other slaves do have the computer chips, used by the Nobles to control them.
There seems to be an under ground movement (in both senses) to free the slaves. As a person without a microchip, Monica can travel to places outside of her assigned duties. She is successively given chips from people who have just died so she can receive food. There is a group of conspirators (the slave council) who get messages to Monica and give her assignments. Her latest assignment is to find a document that has been hidden for years. It contains the secret – the way to free the slaves.
Her father had had some kind of plan to destroy the computers and thereby make the chips useless. He had figured out the location of the computer and its controls. Unfortunately, he had been terminated – abruptly – but not before he wrote down the means to destroy the computers. That is the hidden document Monica is to find.
Now, years later, it is up to Monica to carry out his plan. If she doesn't succeed, the system will continue to go on for hundreds of years. Millions of slaves would continue to suffer day after day, all because she had failed them. She has to find the paper and carry out her father's plans, before it is too late.
This novel was written by a teen for teens. The writing (sentence construction, etc.) is not very sophisticated but is probably sufficient for teen readers. The “extras” that make a novel great, such as character development or descriptions that grab you, are not present.
I found the first part of the book repetitive and lacking a driving plot. I would have preferred to read more of how the civilization got to where it is, Nobles and slaves. Was there a war? Who built all the tunnels? These kinds of hints could have been added into the action of the first hundred pages, or so, allowing the reader to understand the background to the current story. By the middle of the book the plot was revealed enough that it kept my interest until the end.
There were some technical issues I questioned. The computers that controlled the slaves had run “unassisted” for hundreds of years. What about dust, rust, etc.? Monica deals with high power electrical connections and wires, wet from being in the river, and survives (only being knocked unconscious). The slaves live underground their entire lives. Is their skin white from lack of sunlight? Do they suffer from vitamin D deficiency?
At this point, there is nothing I can identify as specifically “Christian” about the novel. There is reference to the “God of our songs” and there are the sacrificial actions of Monica in the novel. But there is no allegory to Christianity nor reference to faith lost hundreds of years ago. This is just the first novel in the projected trilogy, however, so there may be a Christian element brought in later.
For more (including a video and more about Amanda) go to www.preciselyterminated.com and www.amandaldavis.com.
Amanda L. Davis is a teen author, born and raised in Florida and now lives in Tennessee. This is her first book. She honed her writing craft while attending writers conferences with her father, Bryan Davis, and through years of participating in Cleanplace, an online writers group for teens.
Living Ink Books (AMG Publishers), 464 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.