Publishers Weekly Review
Seventeen-year-old Donovan Reyes has it all: his father is the "Prime Liaison" between humanity and the alien zhree, who conquered Earth a century ago, and Donovan himself, a technologically enhanced "exo," is part of SecPac, enforcing the law and dealing with human insurrection. When he's captured by the resistance group Sapience, he's thrust into unfamiliar and dangerous territory, which grows even more complicated after he discovers a personal connection to one of its members. Still loyal to the zhree and to his father, Donovan is conflicted; determined to preserve peace and lives on both sides, he disobeys orders, questions procedure, and eventually stumbles on terrible hidden truths. Lee (Shadowboxer) constructs a plausibly alien future society and uses the premise to offer thought-provoking questions on occupation and colonization, placing her hero in a murky state of morality as she explores divided loyalties and conflicting obligations. Things perhaps come a bit too easily to Donovan at times, but the story's open-ended conclusion begs for further development and exploration. Ages 12-up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-After becoming a colony of an alien race, Earth has seen peace for 100 years. When certain children reach age five or six, they receive an exocel, or hard alien skeleton fused into their bodies. Donovan, 17, is an exo, and his erze marking designates him as an enhanced human soldier, indoctrinated since age 12 into training for SecPac, the colony's security force. His human father is Prime Liaison, the lead diplomat between the human government and erze oversight in West America. A human revolutionary group called Sapience instigates hatred toward SecPac by encouraging people to kill anyone who is erze-marked. During a shoot-out with suspected Sapience members, Donovan is captured by the group. After being tortured, he expects to be executed, but he becomes Sapience's bargaining chip after they learn who his father is. Even as he realizes that his father is not willing to negotiate for his release, he falls for a young Sapience member, Anya. The fate of Earth rests on his survival because if Sapience kills him, it could spark another intergalactic war. Donovan discovers how his choices and actions can have devastating results, and his loyalties are torn among SecPac, his warring estranged parents, Sapience, and Anya. This action-packed novel asks readers to consider alien technology, what it means to be human or nonhuman, and the gray areas in war, where neither side is completely good or evil. VERDICT Ethical questions add complex layers to this exciting sci-fi offering. For large YA collections.-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.