12 May '12

A Nix Sci-Fi review – Hunting the Shadows by Alexia Reed (3.75 Stars)

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JC is in trouble.  The former golden boy of a top research lab, his conscious got the better of him and he did something reckless. Now he finds himself locked up in a jail cell, tortured and detained for being a traitor to his race. His only regret is that he was caught, that he couldn’t stop the “testing” that was going on by successfully blowing up the lab and releasing all its human test subjects. Preparing to die, he is kept sane only by her voice in his mind, the voice that tells him he has to stay alive and help catch a serial killer that threatens the halls of the compound. But is the voice real? Or has he broken under the pressure?

Amy has never known anything but isolation and confinement. Her psychic powers are too great to be in general populous, too unstable for her to be anywhere but under lock and key in the psych ward. Then a killer touched her mind, showing her images too gruesome to ignore. Her only hope is JC, the man they took down to the cells to die. She must get him to believe in her existence, must get him to set himself free to track down the man before he kills again. Unfortunately, confinement means that her actions are limited, that when they come to wipe his mind and turn him into the “perfect soldier”, she can do nothing to stop them. Using the only power that she has, she does her best to protect his mind and in doing so, puts them both in grave danger. But when the dust settles, she finds herself out of her cell and in a situation she is unprepared to face.
Together, Amy and JC must work to stop the predator preying on the women of the compound without attracting attention to themselves. No one must know that JC is not the perfect soldier that they thought they had created, or that Amy is more powerful than they ever dreamed. When things start to heat up, can they manage to juggle all the threads in the web of lies they have created?
Well, this was unexpected. I didn’t expect this novel to be quite so dark or quite so engaging.  The premise is anything but simple and sometimes made for a somewhat confusing story. The Government has made a virus to unlock psychic powers and created a league of super soldiers. All housed in the centre, they were property, not humans. I didn’t like the world that this story was set in. The morals were suspect, people were disposed of if their powers didn’t fit and everyone was supposed to fit into this mould created by the Government. It was definitely dystopian fiction so I suppose I wasn’t supposed to like the world, that it was supposed to be flawed.  I did, however love the thought of these psychic x-men.
The first chapter was confusing as hell because we start the book in the middle of the action. I knew nothing about the world, but I did adjust quite quickly. There were odd times in the book when I got confused again, about where we were in terms of the chain of events of the story, but as a whole, I could follow the direction it was going. The premise was so novel, and so fascinating, that I could forgive some plot glitches. The suspense plot was interesting and I only figured out who the serial killer was when he actually was caught!
I really liked the character of JC. Yes, for a long period of time, the man was complicit in some pretty horrific things, but he woke up and decided that the time had come for drastic measures. Yeah, they were pretty stupid drastic measures, but it was his strength of conviction that made him do it. His morals were sound and he knew what he was doing was wrong, so decided that it could no longer continue. The way he looked out for Amy was lovely …I really liked his protective and slightly alpha nature J He could have done with a management skills course though because he was terrible as the leader of the psychic x-men when he didn’t immediately get his own way…stroppy and sulky are not the best leadership qualities!
Amy was a difficult character to like. She was naive and really didn’t seem to have a rounded character. I understood her reactions to certain situations; I just have issues relating to characters such as her.  I wasn’t sure that she worked as an individual character, but she worked well as a pair with JC. The chemistry between them was very well described but I couldn’t get it out of my head that it was only because they had been physically linked that they fit so well. It was an interesting twist; were they only attracted to each other because of a bond created through necessity rather than choice? And if that was the case, did it really matter why if they truly cared about each other?  
Overall, this was a good start to an interesting series. I’ll read the next ones on the strength of this one, even if there were bits that I couldn’t quite mesh with. I’d really like to see more from some of JC colleagues, even the ones that had the powers that weren’t so nice. 


Nix

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