Friday, May 17, 2013

Review: Talented by Sophie Davis

Talented (Talented Saga #1)Talented by Sophie Davis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very cool, I loved it!

Talented takes place in a distant future 100 years after a series of catastrophic natural disasters damages underground nuclear reactors, which in turn contaminates the world's oceans. In the years following The Great Contamination, some children are born with strange genetic defects, some as simple as purple eye color others as complex as superhuman powers of the mind and body. I love the strange and wonderful skills portrayed in the book.

The world is divided between those who would accept (or perhaps just use) the gifted and those who would suppress (or exterminate) them. I found it interesting that the organization that gathers, trains and uses the talented kids is called TOXIC, not a very positive acronym for a group supposedly devoted to training and supporting the population's uniquely qualified outcasts.
On the other side of the battle is the Coalition, based in the seceded western states of the USA, which is opposed to mandatory talent testing for kids and possibly advocates exterminating them entirely (a strange combination of goals). What I find interesting with these two organizations is the way Talia perceives them. She hates the Coalition and it's leader for killing her parents when she was a kid and loyally serves in TOXIC hoping for at chance a revenge. But, as the story progresses, there are hints that things aren't all that they seem. Is TOXIC really on the side of good? I love how the story keeps me guessing.

Talia is a strong, but vulnerable, character. She wants to prove herself as one of the elite Hunters, the assassin/spy division of TOXIC, but as a pledge, she struggles with the harsh realities of her calling and the fear of disappointing her powerful benefactor, the leader of the organization. I love how she has to fight for success and how she doesn't always meet the mark. It makes her seem real. I also love the romance aspect of the story and the tension that goes with it. While there is a love triangle, I think it's done in a very believable and gradual way. There is no love at first sight, and, just like a naive inexperienced girl would be, Talia is delightfully conflicted throughout.

The main supporting characters are realistic and strongly developed in such a way that I was able to form my own opinions. I found myself gradually shifting loyalties as the story progressed, and I'm certain that the author meant for that to happen. I love Talia's best friend Penny and how she draws Talia out of her shell. Erik and Henri, Talia's teammates, are fantastic. Like Talia, they are imperfect and human. They have amazing powers but also have secrets, fears and weaknesses, making them both relatable and likeable.

I find it difficult to come up with anything I didn't like other than an occasional missing word or wrong word mistake and a few oddly placed commas. Honestly, though, these were outweighed by the quality of the story and the rich world in which it takes place. I look forward to the second in the series.

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest, non-reciprocal review.

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