The Amber Project by J.N. Chaney
In this dystopian novel, a group of genetically-engineered teenagers are sent on a rescue mission to the former surface of Earth.
Publisher’s Description: In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery—and everything changes. Suddenly, there’s reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant.
Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine—and what he will become is far more dangerous.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Kat Mandu says…
I have so much love for the “mutant” crowd. Makes me think of Dark Angel and X-Men. Dark Angel was one of my favorite tv series growing up so The Amber Project’s plot hit close to home on the “I wants this list.”
Admittedly, it was a rocky start for me to get into – dystopian works tend to spend a lot of time explaining the worlds they’re set in, and infused with politics, scandal, and lots of secrets, it started off a bit slowly. However, once the kids are seventeen and doing cool stuff, the action picks up. It even gets bloody near the end. The epilogue is left open-ended but luckily I already have the sequel. Wink, wink.
Despite the slow start though, author JN Chaney does a spectacular job of dropping hints about the world he’s created in intervals, rather than info dumping at the very beginning, which I appreciate. The more you read, the more you discover. And that’s one of the things I really enjoyed about this.
The comradery between the kids, and even the adults, is intermingled with bits of humor, which balances out nicely with the violent action and murder plots.
The one thing that bugged me was the dates and the ages. At first, Terry seemed way older than seven when you first initially meet him. I know he’s supposed to be smart but his reactions to things just seemed off to me. Even the conversation he has with John at the very beginning just seemed way past his years. And as time passed as the story progressed, I found all the years were blending into one, so I had to do a lot of math to figure out where I was in the timeline and how old the kids were.
Regardless, I still loved reading this and look forward to reading the sequel, Transient Echoes. This gets a four from me!
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