In this future forged by survivors of pandemics that wiped out 80 percent of the world's population, life is valued above all else. The government of "Life First" requires the mentally ill to be sterilized, outlaws abortions and sentences to death those who refuse to donate an organ when told.
Determined not to give up her kidney, Kelsey enlists the help of her boyfriend Luke and a dodgy doctor to escape. The trio must disable the tracking chip in her arm for her to flee undetected. If they fail, Kelsey will be stripped of everything.
* This is an Awesome Indies Approved book.
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I would like to thank author RJ Crayton and The Cover Contessa for granting me the chance to read this e-book in exchange for an honest review. Though I received the e-book for free that in no way influenced this review.
I wasn't quite sure what to make if this book in the beginning, but within a few short pages I was hooked. Ms. Clayton has envisioned a horrifying future that comes in a pretty package. A future where the individual is less important than the society as a whole. In some strange way this society's reaction to the plague that decimated 80% of the global population makes sense. Or should I say made sense.
After the plague people had to band together if they wanted humanity to survive. After years of relearning much of the knowledge lost with the bulk of the world's population things are beginning to level off. Yet it is clear that the terror still lurks in the hearts of all who live in FoSS and follow the "Life First" mandate. This mandate may well have saved humanity from extinction, yet now the pendulum has swung too far in the wrong direction. If you are discovered to be a donor match you must automatically undergo surgery and give away your organ to the match, regardless of if you know them or not.
Kelsey grew up without her mother for most of her life, but she never really knew the truth behind her mother's death until she meets Dr. Grant. He turns out to be a throwback to the pre-plague era, believing in the Hippocratic Oath rather than Life First, because Life First doesn't abide by the whole "do no harm" ethic. He gives her a video her mother made minutes before dying - and it turns out her mother didn't need to die if only the doctor that Grant was working for had listened when Dr. Grant said he knew what was causing Kelsey's mother such distress, and how to fix it. Her mother's message really hit home for Kelsey, especially since her best friend Susan had been marked for a routine bone marrow transplant. Susan went in and she underwent the surgery like a good citizen, but she developed an infection that left her paralyzed from the waist down. This had the effect of really cooling Kelsey's jets on Life First, since they only cared that Susan was alive, but were totally unconcerned with her radical loss of quality of life.
Kelsey elects to escape to a free country where Life First isn't an issue. However she made this choice after being marked, which made her an automatic felon. And once she is caught while running she learns that had she stayed and submit she would have been disqualified because she was pregnant.
Kelsey has strong moral convictions and tries to stand by them in the face of overwhelming odds. She also tries to be strong for her loved ones, not wanting to cause them any further pain or public harm. Even though she occasionally loses her cool, she always manages to pull herself back together. Of course she has the help of her beloved, her wonderful father, and her Uncle Albert. Without them she simply doesn't know what she'd do.
This story arc is smooth and well written, pacing the characters and their development nicely. And the moral dilemmas being posed aren't given any pat answers, but rather put forth for the reader to think on, and hopefully come to their own terms with the choices, or lack thereof. I truly enjoyed having the duality of the story and the issues under consideration, for they complimented each other beautifully and gave this story an added dimension and depth that it, and I, most certainly benefited from.RJ Crayton grew up in Illinois and now lives in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC. She is a fiction writer by day and a ninja mom by night (What is a ninja mom, you ask? It's the same as a regular mom, only by adding the word ninja, it explicitly reveals the stealth and awesomeness required for the job of mom). Before having children, Crayton was a journalist, so all the stuff she wrote had to be true (sniff, sniff). She's worked at big publications like the Wichita Eagle and the Kansas City Star, and little publications like Solid Waste Report and Education Technology News. Her novels Life First and Second Life were published in 2013. The final novel in that series will be published in 2014. Also look for a paranormal love story in 2014.
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