Title: The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings
Release Date: June 10th 2014
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Source: Publisher (Thanks Megan!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
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?
It's like an opening sequence for a movie. Meadow with her younger sister Peri at sea, looking out in the horizon. Readers are slowly introduced to the world where Meadow and her family lives, in the Shallows along with other citizens, trapped inside a wall called the Perimeter. Miserable. Hungry. They have barcodes on their foreheads, they have pins that will help them heal. But Meadow lives in a harsh world. The streets are littered with the dead every day even though they will never die of illness. Meadow's family never has enough rations to feed themselves. She lives in a world where she has to kill to get a job, to survive.
The deceptively slow pace of this book threw me off guard, and I was ready to give up even before I hit 50 pages. But then exciting things start to happen, and before I knew it I find myself in the middle of an action packed story and I never looked back. I have to admit, I was hooked.
Meadow is a kick-ass girl from the get go. Though it's a little hard to think of how killing seems so ordinary in this novel, and Meadow doesn't have qualms in ending a life should it be needed. She's very realistic. She's also big on family, and in a harsh world where they have very little, her family is all she has. I like that she's tough. I like that she's not one to go down without a fight and still have the capacity to be vulnerable. But I have to admit I expected the story to be about two tough characters going all out against each other. It, surprisingly, wasn't. Zephyr was not who I expected him to be. He wasn't the sharp, deadly assassin from the very first moment he appeared, just a boy struggling to see what else is in store for him. He's an orphan, and every day he hauls dead bodies from the streets. He was kind, but weak. I liked how there's more to discover about him, and how I see more, flashes of the assassin he is, and the boy he just really was. Sometimes guys needs to be saved too, and Meadow does it. Sometimes she too needs to be saved, and Zephyr does.
I'm equal parts confused and amused by some things in this novel. I don't mind that Lindsay invented swear words. But it did took me quite a while to piece the story together. It's quite a struggle to understand what, really, is "The Murder Complex". Why do they need to kill? When? How? Who does it? But Lindsay Cummings managed to dish out important points at crucial moments that made up for all the confusion and questions that will pop up while you're reading. Hang in there, reader. It will make sense eventually. It's usually a good sign when I start responding to the emotions the characters have in a novel, and I did. Hatred for Meadow's mother, pity for Zephyr and the life he has lived, and sympathy for the world and the people trapped in it, created by a person playing God for everyone. And after that just a fun reading experience as I navigate this futuristic world, which was scary, disorderly, oppressive.
How much value is there in a life when you know you won't easily die from diseases and infection? What happens to a society where people don't die? I like the grim portrayal of a world answering those two important questions in this novel. Lindsay Cummings has quite a story here, and even though there are points that needs improvement, once they are fixed, this has the potential of being a great series.
Also, THAT ending? My mouth formed a big O when I leafed through the last page.
Content (plot, story flow, character):
There were parts where it feels a bit jumpy, but that must be one of the tricky parts of working on dual point of views. Sometimes I feel confused on who's POV it is. Personality consistency is also a problem, but I feel like Meadow and Zephyr's character eventually became consistent towards the end. Sometimes I feel some parts are hurried and some parts took its time to unravel when it was obvious where the story was headed. Those little things did take away some of my enjoyment in the story, but overall this was still a good read!
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!
This is how I pictured Meadow will look like!
This is how I pictured Meadow will look like!