Michelle was born into the Institute’s eugenics program, where doctors breed people like livestock. One powerful man decides which children grow up, and which disappear. Culls are dumped in the slum outside Institute walls, and those kids never come back. Michelle has survived every purge, and she’s about to win a luxurious life as a breeder. When her brother and her boyfriend are both mysteriously culled, despite their high scores, she goes over the wall to find them. Alone in the ghetto, she’s in trouble until handsome, streetwise Dillon stakes a claim to her. She’s mortified because the Enhanced see Norms as little more than animals. But the doctor is using the missing boys in a twisted experiment, and she needs Dillon’s help to stop him. Michelle must rescue the boys, but a plague is spreading, the doctor is after her, and Dillon isn’t thrilled to help her find her lost boyfriend.
The little redheads shifted uncomfortably. Finally, one looked up at the teens. "Don't tell," she pleaded. "We just come here sometimes to look for-"
"They were both here too," interrupted her sister, elbowing her. "And there's no rule-"
"Shhh!" Sylvia cut them off. "Look."
Far away, men appeared in the alley. They moved slowly, keeping to cover when they could, like predators. Rosa walked along the top of a pipe with her baby on her hip. She climbed down and looked inside it, then nervously checked the dark mouths of other pipes.
"Euuw," Michelle murmured, as Rosa crawled inside one of the dark holes. "There've got to be spiders in there. Why would anyone….”
But then they saw why. As Rosa backed out of the hole, careful not to bump her baby's head on the rim, she dragged a large black duffel bag from its hiding place. She slung the long strap over one narrow shoulder. It looked heavy. With the baby on one hip and the bag on the other, the girl used the rim of the pipe to pull herself up. She moved off slowly, away from the oncoming men.
"She doesn't see them," said one triplet.
"She's baiting a trap, just like last time," said another.
"No, she's alone. Plus she brought the baby, and she didn't last time. She wouldn't use her baby as bait."
"A trap?" asked Sylvia, sounding concerned. "For who?"
"For the tattooed men," Sara answered. "The mean ones who…"
An awkward silence fell. The little girl tried again. "They…they catch women, even little girls sometimes, and…"
"Rape," Jennie said bluntly. "That's the word for it. Rape."
"Oh my God," Michelle said, meeting Sylvia's eyes. They both automatically looked out the window. Rosa hadn't made it very far.
The little redheads looked stricken. Two of them stared down their sister. "I know, I found it in a book," Jennie said defensively. She glared like it was all her sisters’ fault. "They'll get those men, those girls will, just like last time."
"Jennie, she's alone, take a look for yourself," exclaimed Susan. "Don't be daft!"
"What?" Sylvia asked. "They got the men how?"
"They sent one girl in alone," Sara said. "But they hid all around her. She limped."
"Faking," a sister interjected. Sara nodded.
"Then when the men attacked, they shot them, from their hiding places."
"With arrows, and they threw big rocks," Jennie finished.
"There was blood everywhere and one girl…"
There was a long pause.
"And lots of the men were hurt too, and three or four of them didn't get up when the others ran away," Sara said. “They were dead."
"Dead." Jennie echoed. "Definitely dead. Served them right.”
In the alley below, the men were coming closer. The little mother worked hard, boosting the bag over pipes and clambering after it with her baby. After a while she took to setting the boy down and tossing the bag over each pipe, then carrying him over. The men spread out and began to move faster.
"They're coming! Go! Go now!" shrieked Jennie out the window. Rosa looked up in surprise and spotted the girls at the window. The she whipped her head around and saw the men. They were far away, but closing, moving a lot faster than she could over the obstacles. Rosa dumped the bag in the mouth of the nearest pipe, grabbed her baby, and took off as fast as she could.
"Shut up, Jennie!" Sara screamed, punching her sister’s shoulder. She was hysterical and making a lot of noise herself. "The guards will hear you, they'll come, and then what? The gate, the gate, just like our-"
Susan grabbed Sara’s wrists. "Shut up, please, please!"
Michelle and Sylvia just stared, not sure what they were talking about. Outside, Rosa was about even with the window and losing ground fast. The baby slowed her down and she wouldn’t leave him. The men encircled her, cut off her escape. She looked up, searching for a way up the wall, and found none. Rosa bent down, whispered in her baby's ear, and dropped him at the entrance to a pipe. He was afraid and wouldn't go in alone. She pushed him in, but he crawled back out. His cries echoed weirdly off the tall metal wall.
The men came closer. Against thirteen of them, Rosa had no chance. She yanked a metal pole out of the rubble and brandished it, swinging it at whoever came closest. A short, powerfully built man closed in and grabbed for the pipe. She faked high, and then slammed him in the knee. Screaming, he went down. The others tightened their circle around her, blocking her escape. The baby crawled underfoot, getting in the way while his mother tried to defend him. Rosa caught one more with the pole, right in the head, but then the others swarmed her, grabbing arms and legs and throwing her down on her back. Michelle screamed, forgetting the guards, forgetting everything except the horror in the shadows.
Sylvia ran across the room and slammed her hand on a red button that Michelle hadn’t noticed before.
"What the hell," Michelle started to say, but then a computer panel slid open, lit with a yellow glow.
"Ramirez, Sylvia Eve," Sylvia screamed into the screen. A red dot appeared. Sylvia leaned in, pressing her eye to the retinal scanner.
"Condition?" The computer voice sounded utterly calm.
"Emergency! Open panel!" Sylvia cried.
"Authorized, Ramirez, Sylvia, emergency intrusion alert," the computer responded coolly. A panel slid back, exposing an array of sleek weapons on the wall. Sylvia grabbed a long rifle and thrust it into Michelle's hands, then took another for herself.
Sylvia clicked over a little red button on Michelle's rifle. "Safety's off now. It's loaded. Put the laser dot where you want the bullet, pull the trigger. It'll recoil. Make short bursts."
"Are you out of your mind?" Michelle had never even seen a real gun before, let alone used one.
Sylvia got right in Michelle's face. "Look. Outside. Now."
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Pages/File Size: 270pages/597KB
Formats Available: Paperback, E-Book
BLURB from Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Michelle is a product of the Institute's eugenics program, where people are bred like livestock. One doctor decides which kids get to grow up, and which disappear. Only Culls walk into the slum outside Institute walls, and they never come back. Michelle has survived every purge, and she's about to win a luxurious life as a breeder. Then the doctor banishes her brother Seth and her boyfriend Brian, and she risks everything to find them in the cutthroat slum. She's in trouble until handsome Dillon stakes a claim to her. Michelle is mortified, because Norms are practically animals. But the doctor is using the missing boys in a twisted plan and she needs Dillon's help to stop him. Michelle and her friends must find Seth and Brian, but a plague is spreading, the doctor is after her and Dillon isn't thrilled to help her find her lost boyfriend.
Approaching reading this book my thoughts are, as I love a good dystopian I am looking forward to reading this one. Not even read the blurb in great detail, it's dystopian that will do me.
At 24% I was already hooked and drawn into the plot. the Cull sounds horrific and just "witnessed" on in the book. there's already a kind of group of people leading a quiet rebellion, Todd, Seth, Michelle, And Brian. Also liking the newer smaller kid in the book, called Nick.
I received a free e-coy of this book via IO Tours in exchange for my honest review and posting it as part of this blog tour.
The cover is quite dark, and I'd take a guess at the female on the front cover being Michelle, or it could be Carrissa as she is "shown the gate" or as it's called more often in the book "Gated". I do like the cover though it is quite dark. I think it depicts the gate as it should be in a dark mysterious way.
So would I pick this book up from a book store shelf? Yes, I think I would definitely pick it up and read the blurb and then buy it lol!
So the plot f the book concerns two groups of people the "Enhanced" that live inside the walls and gate and are genetically modified to make them stronger, more intelligent and have special powers. The Enhanced are obviously the more privileged of the two races.
The "Unenhanced" which is the new politically correct way to refer to them are the lower class who live outside the wall. The Unenhanced or "Norms" as they seem to be called more often are the ones who do all the chores and unwanted jobs of the Enhanced yet they are made to live outside, they are not genetically modified in any way. The Enhanced are supposed to ignore the Unenhanced other than to issue orders to them.
The Enhanced children are continually tested and given things to see how they react. They have no choice as the parents are part of The Conclave. The Conclave are the "governing body" who are supposed to control the scientists. I say supposed to as there is one particular scientist Dr Salmon that has his own ideas and isn't above going ahead with them, unapproved by The Conclave. One such experiment involves him picking two of the strongest males in the Enhanced and inserting a rod into their arms and then sending them out to "gather information" on the Unenhanced. however things are not what they seem as suddenly the Unenhanced are falling ill and dying.. . . Whilst the Nick, and Seth, two boys are outside, Seth's sister Michelle, and some others gather together to unveil Dr Salmon for the unscrupulous man he is and get the boys back. They sneak out of the inner city to the outside. It's there that Michelle meet Dillon. their upbringing and beliefs are so different. On the inside you flit from one partner to the other. The Enhanced have had the "loyalty" gene bred out of them. So to them it is totally normal not to stay with one partner. It's also the case that Unenhanced children are not made up of DNA from just two partners. They have many DNA donors, it's how the special abilities are made.
On the outside the Unenhanced/Norms live and love the "old" way. They choose one partner and stay with them forever, kind of like a soul mate concept.
I really enjoyed the genetic and differences between the inside the gate and outside. It sounds as if the inside the gate people known as the Enhanced have it all, and live in the life of luxury but there are underhand, and abuse going on behind closed doors. If the enhanced fail a test or rebel they are quite literally "shown the door" or rather in this case shown out of the gate. They are not allowed to take anything with them at all such as weapons to "fend off the uncivilised Norms/Unenhanced, or food to sustain them. In fact there's another dark secret there to be uncovered as you read the book about the people who are "Gated". I really don't want to say anymore as I feel it could spoil or impair your enjoyment of the book.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, I really did enjoy this book, staying up late to finish the book! It definitely had that "can't put it down" element to the book. Would I recommend the book? Yes if you love Dystopian, YA, Fantasy or just love a good book, this one is for you. Would I read a BK#2? I certainly would read a Bk#2 though I'm not so sure there will be a book two. Maybe I should simply ask the Author on Goodreads! I'd certainly read a book two. I became quite attached to the enhanced and Unenhanced characters in this book. Would I read other books by this Author? I will be checking them out after finishing this post.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Courtney Farrell was once a molecular biologist, but her habit of daydreaming destroyed far too many experiments. As it turned out, writing down the movies behind her eyes was a lot more fun than lab work. Courtney is the author of fourteen nonfiction books for young people, mostly on social and environmental topics. She lives with her family on a Colorado ranch where they support a barn full of freeloading animals, including a fat draft horse and a bunch of crazy chickens. Enhanced is her first novel.