I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
Series: The Murder Complex
Published by Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Publishers on June 10th 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Young Adult
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An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.
The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?
Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.
The Murder Complex is Lindsay Cummings’ debut. She’s set to debut in middle grade as well later in the year. I’m on a bit of a dystopia fatigue but the plot of the book made me want to give it a go.
Meadow is hard. She’s hard because of the kind of life she has to lead. Living on a houseboat and taking care of her family since her mother died on land in the dark time. Her father is the only one with a sanctioned job which means he’s the only one bringing in rations. Her brother couldn’t complete the task on testing day to be given a job and more rations for the family. When the book starts off it is Meadow’s turn to try to win a badge and a job. She knows she can do whatever it takes to get those rations for her family, for her little sister. She makes her way onto the right train and into the governing force’s lair. There she kills for a chance to give out rations and earn more for her family.
Zephyr is a ward (orphan) with a big heart. He takes care of his friends and the younger wards. He dreams every night of a girl with long blond hair. When he finishes scraping bodies off the street and burning them in an incinerator he files in to get his rations and sees Meadow. Obviously she’s the girl from his dreams (and this was one of the things that makes it wonky for me the prophetic dreams that were only mentioned in the first half of the book) and he waits for her after work.
The two get to know each other and find out things aren’t what they seem with the governing military. Together they work to undo the wrong and discover that someone close to Meadow may have had a hand in setting up the wrongdoings in the first place.
They live in a place where murder happens on a large-scale daily. There isn’t enough food and people are just struggling to get by. The cast of side characters are neither flat nor fleshed out. They fit well in a post-apocalyptic YA. Meadow’s father is hard. He taught her how to survive and how to kill. Her sister is soft and young and very sweet, much like Primrose Everdeen. Her brother is hard but not hard enough and he seems to have his own demons to fight. Zephyr’s best friend (her name escapes me) was sad and had a great personality.
There is a small rebellion, some cool science stuff and plenty of tension to keep a reader turning pages. The Murder Complex kept me racing to the last page because the pacing and writing were done well. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopia and thriller.
Cummings’ writing isn’t without fault. At times the plot meanders and the characters seem to do things that are out of their character (those who aren’t meant to do that I mean). It was all in all a solid debut.