Random House, 2015
Em woke up panicking in the dark. She doesn't know where she was, doesn't know who she is, doesn't know why she is here. Frantic, she broke out of the coffin she was in to find even more coffins in the same room.Some survived, others didn’t. Those who did survive have five things in common:
The last thing thing remember is their age: 12 years old
They are all wearing the same uniform, now too short on their grown bodies
Today is their birthday
They only know their last name (because of a label on the caskets)
They are all branded with a unique circle on their foreheads.
Savage. Spingate. Bello. O’Malley. Yong. Aramovsky.
The survivors find their way out of the enclosed room they came from only to find themselves in another terrifying mystery. Outside, there is death and complete destruction. Nothing is alive as they look at their escape route – a long hallway to nowhere containing other halls and rooms filled with the same details as the one they escaped. Only no one in those rooms survived. Then begins their walk to find their way out.
Questions and memories begin to start conversations. They remember vague things like their parents, a particular food, or a talent they possess but have no idea how. The biggest question looming is who could possibly want to bury them alive for years and try to keep them alive? They have so many things in common, but commonality doesn’t always weave a perfect pattern.
Long hallways and five strangers begin to strain their tenuous hold with each other. Who can they trust? Who should they follow? Which one is dangerous? But more importantly, where can they find food and water?
Scott Sigler knows how to grab readers’ attention and hang it by a thread. The readers follow these survivors on their harrowing journey knowing only what they know. There is no omniscient perspective allowing the reader to know more, which makes this book such a suspenseful thrill ride. We are more like the tail end of the line, watching what happens next, and what the reader does see are the personalities of each survivor coming more into focus. One is the leader, the other is the lieutenant; the others are followers, willing or not. It’s not until the reveal that the reader finally understands what is happening and why survival is so important. The first chapter will grab you, the next ones will keep you in the story. And then BOOM….realization finally happens and you’ll race to the end to find out the final ending. First in a trilogy.
Recommended upper JH/HS