From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Kayla, the central character from Tankborn (Lee & Low, 2011), returns in this thought-provoking sequel. She is still a GEN, a Genetically Engineered Non-Human, even though she has had several opportunities to receive the treatment that would dissolve her circuitry and let her pass for a lowborn. She has a new assignment: to assist lowborn Risa in delivering goods while they work undercover for the Kinship. Kayla's star-crossed love interest, trueborn Devak, and his grandfather, Zul, are barely hanging onto their high status after Devak's father was imprisoned. Helping the Kinship conquer the social inequalities among the classes takes a backseat in this story to two new problems: a virus that affects only GENs and the identity of the group behind the bombings in several GEN sectors. As the food supply for GENs lessens, and more of them are infected, the appearance of GENs who can heal others by touch only confuses things more. Kayla grows stronger as an individual, and there is plenty of attention paid to her relationship with Devak. Some minor characters, like Devak's friend Junjie, are rounded out while others stay one-dimensional. A few scenes seem to drag on, but overall pacing is good. There is a helpful glossary of unfamiliar terms, but this book is best read as a sequel and not as a stand-alone. It's a solid second act with a cliff-hanger that will have readers restless for the third installment.-Kelly Jo Lasher, Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Newcomers to the Tankborn series will need some time to become familiar with the created world and words (the glossary at the end helps), the rigid caste system, and the concept of genetically engineered characters. The prologue here introduces Raashida, a GEN with healing powers, but only astute readers will remember her when she later reappears. The GEN protagonist, Kayla, has her assignment: working with lowborn Risa, making deliveries in the lorry. Traveling from sector to sector gives them freedom to transmit information and secretly pass datapods for the Kinship, which Kayla hopes will lessen the encounters with her former trueborn boyfriend, Devak. New characters, a new disease, new plot twists and factions, and undercurrents of mistrust and unrest abound, leaving readers hoping for solutions in the third installment. Grades 7-10. --J. B. Petty
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