by Camila Fernandez Gomez
AuthorHouse UK

"'Also, at some point, you're going to have to accept that these emotions aren't a bad thing, Ali.'"

The Government is a city where citizens have had their emotions blocked, allowing humanity to exist in peace without war, chaos, and violence. People are judged and placed in society according to their intelligence and skillsets, and society runs pretty smoothly. Aliana Keenan is one of those citizens. A member of the prestigious Keenan family and a soldier, Aliana is training for her future place in society. But she has a secret. She has emotions, and she struggles to keep them under control. One slip-up could put her life in jeopardy. When her sister Samirah goes missing, she leaves the safe and organized world of the Government to look for her, heading into rebel territory. But what Aliana finds may not be what she’s looking for, and she soon finds herself entangled in a bigger fight while having to face the truth about herself.

This work of speculative fiction tackles an interesting concept. It gently asks readers to consider what humanity would be like without emotions by presenting a protagonist who operates on reason yet experiences negative emotions. Aliana’s worldview is that feeling is pain; feeling is wrong. This can be very relatable to readers who have experienced trauma and hardship. Oddly enough, though, it’s Aliana’s emotional assessment of situations that usually escalates the issues at hand.

The pacing of the novel seems a bit uneven as it tends to focus heavily on Aliana’s integration into La Cruz, making the last act seem rushed. Despite this, the rest of the novel is an enjoyable read. The author does a great job in juxtaposing and challenging Aliana (and the Government’s) philosophy with the lively city of La Cruz and its people full of emotion. It succeeds at making a case for both lifestyles.

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