*Starred Review* All right, it has a plague. And, yes, it's set in some semblance of America in the not-so-distant future. Yet even with all the hordes of dystopian novels out there, this one still manages to keep readers on the edge of their seats. But even the nonstop action would mean little without Lu's well-toned ability to write characters to care about. One is June, a daughter of the Republic. Her perfect scores at the Trial have insured a great future for her. Then there is Day. A hero to the street people, he fights injustice and keeps an eye on his brothers and mothers as they try to survive. Their narratives, told in alternating and distinctively voiced chapters, describe how circumstances bring them together. Day kills June's beloved soldier brother as he tries to get medicine for his own. With cold precision, June makes it her mission to exact revenge. What happens next, in macro terms, probably won't surprise, yet the delicious details keep pages turning to learn how it's all going to play out. Combine star-crossed lovers with the need to take down the Republic, and you've got the makings for a potent sequel.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist
Gr 8 Up-In this futuristic tale told in alternating voices, the United States has devolved into factions and California is a part of the Republic. The people are oppressed, except for the privileged few, and Day is carrying out a raid on a hospital for plague medicine for his family. Readers learn that he has been fighting against the Republic for some time, with phenomenal success. Unfortunately, his raid ends with a Republic soldier wounded, and Day is also injured while making his escape. The other narrator is June, who is Republic-trained, privileged, and also in possession of remarkable abilities. She vows vengeance on her brother's killer-he is the wounded soldier. June knows about Day, and she also knows that he doesn't kill, so why did he kill her brother? It's a good question, since he didn't. There is plenty of intrigue and underhanded dealing going on, mostly by Republic officials. The mystery surrounding June's brother and the constant recurrence of various strains of plague are solved by the end, with June and Day joining forces to fight injustice. The door is left open for a sequel since June and Day make their escape and head toward the Colonies (the western part of the former United States not including California) to seek aid in their fight against tyranny. The characters are likable, the plot moves at a good pace, and the adventure is solid. This is a fine choice for those who enjoyed Gemma Malley's The Declaration (Bloomsbury, 2007), Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (Tor, 2008), and fans of the "Star Wars" franchise.-Robin Henry, Wakeland High School, Frisco, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Lu's debut is a stunner. Weaving the strands of SF dystopia, police procedural, and coming-of-age-with touches of superhero and wild frontier traditions-she fashions a narrative in which the action is kinetic and the emotional development is beautifully paced. June, a prodigy from the elite class of the disintegrating Republic, is being groomed for a military career when her brother, a captain, is murdered. June is quickly drafted into the team tracking his accused killer, a spectral and maddeningly persistent outlaw known as Day. June's life has been shaped by intellect, and to be driven by an emotion as ungovernable as grief makes her vulnerable in painful, dangerous ways. Day has known grief all of his life, but is no more immune to it than June is. The chase unfolds against a plague-infested Los Angeles of Gotham-like grit that Lu conjures with every nuance of smell, sound, and sight. First in a series, this story is utterly satisfying in its own right and raises hopes high for the sequels to come. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.