This is a really good Second Book and keeps the heartbeat pumping as Cia and Will (who tried to kill her in book one) try to pass the dangerous Induction into their new training. Tomas is still in the story, but has a much more minor role since he is not assigned to the same specialty department as Cia. I missed Tomas whose role is even smaller in this book. I am all for strong female characters, but poor Tomas is outshined by Cia on all fronts. She just might be too much woman for him - or any guy, really.
Cia finds her brother Zeen's transit Communicator in her possession and remembers how to turn on the mechanism that has recorded her message to herself. She wanted to remind herself of the atrocities that happened during the testing including Will's violence and her suspicion about Tomas's part in Zandri's death since she knew her memories would be erased. At first she doesn't want to believe that what she recorded is true, but as she starts having nightmares that seem so real, she starts to remember.
"Thinking something is true doesn't make it so; Perception is almost as important as reality".
In her new department, Ian is her mentor and seems to be a good guy full of integrity and wanting to help her. Will is also in her group and while she is wary of him, she is happy to have someone she knows at her side. There are many new students from Tosu City that didn't have to go through the Testing who are given favorable treatment because they are locals. While they didn't have to go through the Testing, they are also not prepared that their "Induction" can be lethal and that failure means death or Redirection, as those in charge like to call it. Cia is determined to find ways to help the resistance (the gray haired man from the fence) and help abolish the horrible Testing methods.
"It was believed this separation of powers of powers would prevent the detrimental politics of the past from intruding on the government of the future. Instead, it gave the head of Testing and his staff autonomy to run the Testing without oversight or retribution from the central government. In short, dr. Barnes is free to run the Testing as he sees fit, and under the current law, those who challenge him could be arrested for treason".
The one area that needs work is Cia and Tomas's romance which isn't any more exciting than it was in book one. They are happily in love, but when Cia realizes that there are too many secrets between them, she backs away. Cia is always the smartest one in the group, and while she is strong and independent, she is also a little too incredible. She easily solves difference equations and knows what viscoelasticity is and figures out all the lessons the Induction is trying to teach: teamwork, trust, government procedure and failure. She is NEVER wrong. At least, Tomas seems to be smart enough to exist on his own and hide his own secrets.
While Cia is quite incredible, I really enjoy this dystopia and can't wait for the next book. It is inventive, threatening, and amazing. I highly recommend it.
Would I/Did I buy it? Yes
Would I read it again? Yes
Would I recommend it to friends? Yes