Fiona suddenly awakens in her bedroom, clean in a world of filth and dust, looking like she’s seventeen yet feeling thirteen. She knows she must hide the ten-legged tattoo on her hand, but can’t remember why.

Attacked by a snarling savage man who might be her brother, she flees her family’s shattered house, seeking answers, finding hostility from neighbors. Reward posters offer rarer-than-gold ounces of honey for live captives with the tattoo – she recalls something about bees dying.

Rescued from vicious men by a ragged child, Fi finds a world of refugee Fecs in the sewers. The tattooed ones turn violent as teenagers and are hunted down by the militia before they can mindlessly attack the clean citizens behind the Wall. A three can break a strong man’s arm without effort – what could a ten like Fiona do? But she still feels human…

An attempt to rescue a three from the militia goes wrong, and Fiona is sonic-shocked. She recognizes her captor as Bowen, her next-door-neighbor, the younger brother. He is stunned to hear her speak, as the violent impulses always choke out rational thought.

Eventually convinced that Fiona won’t turn violent, Bowen tells her what’s happened during her four-year memory gap. Scientists tried to rescue dwindling bee populations and created disease, tried to cure the disease and created monsters. Each leg on a tattoo means one dose received - and one step closer to violence and madness. People with no tattoo weren’t exposed to the cure and won’t turn violent, so healthy ones can live inside the Wall – for a time.

But something is wrong with this theory – if Fiona has ten marks, why isn’t she a mindless monster by now? How did she suddenly appear in a clean dress in her old house? Why can’t she remember the past four years? Why does the Governor want her so badly that he offers full life inside the Wall for her capture, dead or alive?

Battling against more than just loss of water and resources, Fiona and Bowen work on the mystery as they try to escape from the militia, the slavetraders, the Fecs, and the Governor in a frightening future where not one bee buzzes.

Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA – blogging young adult books beyond the bestsellers at


Fiona wakes up to a world of horror.  Dust, death, decay...and demonized humans.  She can't possibly understand how or why she ended up here.  And it's not a nightmare either - it's real.  Looking down at her hand, she sees a tattoo, an oval with five lines extending from both sides.  What is it and why is it there?  She has no idea about anything and feels more than lost in a world she didn't fall asleep in.

Enter the new world of Denver Colorado.  Those who live inside the walls are protected, making sure they aren't contaminated.  There is food, medicine, clean water...everything one needs to live a healthy life, ensuring that humanity has a chance of survival.  The Bowen brothers are part of the militia willing to die to keep their city safe, including taking the most dangerous jobs available - guarding the gates from the humans turned monsters.

Then there are those outside of the wall.  They fight to survive, and many don't make it.  While some on the outside aren't as brutal, there are those who have no more understanding.  They've been completely taken over by the virus and have becoming killing machines.  Besides survival, the only common thing the Others have is that everyone of them bear the tattoo, some with two marks, some with five, some with ten.  And it's the Level 10s that are the deadliest, leaving no survivors...

The time it took for everything to change started slow and then overwhelmed.  The near extinction of bees prompted government intervention, which turned deadly.  Those who received treatment from deadly stings had no idea what it would do to them until it was too late.  Fiona was one of the unlucky ones.

Now, she's running on the outside trying to survive.  The more she runs, the closer she gets to the gates of the wall.  She knows there are things about her that's aren't normal, some things that have changed, making her anger dangerous.  And she's about to meet the militia head-on....

Wiggins writes a book full of intrigue and adventure and the path to world destruction was believable.  She lures the reader into not only a world divided, but one where trust is the most valuable commodity and the world isn't the only thing that's turned ugly.  Although the book begins slower that I anticipated, it didn't take long for me to visualize the world the main character now lives in.  The only disappointing factor was that Fiona is far different from those of Katniss and Tris. While they are kick-A girls, Fiona is much more feminine, not bearing the marks of a strong female equal in strength to strong male characters.  I'm sure the author took into consideration the circumstances of
Fiona's character and wrote about someone just entering this world, not having grown up in it.  I'm hoping to see changes in Fiona in the next installment.  Regardless of what type of girl it is, those readers who live and breathe dystopia will enjoy this story to the end.  

Recommended by:  Naomi Bates, Librarian, Texas USA

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