14-year old Lilly Douglas is a girl who has been sheltered from the world since the moment she was born. Gifted with avian like wings and strands of lilac hair, she never realizes how different she is. After a terrifying attack on her home, she is forced to run from everything she knew, and find shelter at a place called Charity Academy. Here students have little to worry about beyond homework and classes, and they spend most of their time learning to control their powers, embracing their identities as 'Strands': students with extraordinary abilities, united by the lilac hairs they have. But they are not alone in the world.
south-east, into the Bitterroot Wilderness, is a dark place known as
Firestone Institution. Here a 16-year old boy named Cory Trask has made
his home with a personality as icy as his powers. Survival driven, Cory
works for a man named Dr. Kibbsty and is the leader in the pursuit of
Lilly. He thinks of little beyond the orders he is given, and life is
nothing more than a game: one where only the strongest survive. As their
paths cross, they bring an uncertain future in their wake that will
cause all these teens to question what it really means to be Strands.
It's been a while since I read about involving kids with supernatural powers and I thought this one would be a great read. It's got everything you could wish for in a fantasy novel - various powers, mutations into animals, almost magical schools for good and evil and plenty of action. I enjoyed reading about all the different powers the kids had, from invisibility to turning into a falcon. Our main character, Lilly, has wings that her family have kept hidden for most of her life however when we meet Lily they are murdered by Dr Kibbsty, a man obsessed with collecting powers and studying them. Lily flees before they can grab her and through the help of Jake, ends up at Charity Academy, the good school.
I did have a lot of problems with this, the main one being the sheer amount of violence in this book, mostly towards Lilly. I'm not sure there was a single chapter where someone didn't deliberately break one or more of her bones and it became exhausting just reading it. Another was Cory himself. When we have his point of view, he seems nice enough and a potential love interest for Lilly. However, as soon as we switch to Lilly's point of view he becomes a different person, punching her, stabbing her, electrocuting her sometimes. At that point, if he had become a love interest I would have dropped this to 1 star because I cannot condone a violent love interest in YA. It wasn't just Cory either, as soon as I got to know Jake he turned into a complete ass and I didn't like him at all. A third issue was the actual length of the book, which felt quite long. When I got to part two I felt that could have been the start of a sequel.
Overall, it was an interesting read with a cliff hanger ending and there is some potential for a good sequel, if it is done right. The boom switches between point of views which I like because you get to know the other characters better that way. I am curious to see what happens but I am worried that the same amount of violence will happen again and I couldn't read a sequel if there was.
Received free from the author in exchange for an honest review