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Tankborn [Kindle Edition]

Karen Sandler
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war? Learn more | See more teen and young adult books

Book Description

Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. GENs are gestated in a tank and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.
When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds secrets and surprises—not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night.
After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan to save the disappearing children. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, revealing secrets no one is ready to face.

Editorial Reviews


Advanced genetic engineering and upsettingly plausible caste oppression keep pages turning in this futuristic science fiction tale. . . . A good option for science-fiction fans interested in genetic engineering, rebellion and class issues. --Kirkus Reviews

The author s speculative vision of the darker side of future possibilities in genetic engineering and mind control is both chilling and thought-provoking. This is a dark novel that will appeal to those who enjoyed M.T. Anderson s Feed (Candlewick, 2002), and it would make a good stepping-stone to Anthony Burgess s classic, A Clockwork Orange (W.W. Norton, 1963). --School Library Journal

Read this book and be changed. --Mette Ivie Harrison, author of The Princess and the Hound

About the Author

Karen Sandler is the author of seventeen novels for adults, as well as several short stories and screenplays. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a software engineer, including work on the Space Shuttle program and communications satellites. Sandler first got the idea for Tankborn in the mid-1980s when she wrote it as a screenplay, and over the years while she was writing other books, the idea grew to include the planet Loka and Kayla's life. Sandler lives in northern California with her husband, Gary, and their three cats, and can often be found riding her Andalusian/Morgan mare, Belle. This is her first novel for young adults.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1049 KB
  • Print Length: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books / Tu Books (September 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,458 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
In the 400 years since the end of Earth, human society is a vastly different place on the Planet Loka. There are levitating cars, strange monstrous creatures, and babies that are suddenly taken by the government without any explanation. Best friends Kayla and Mishalla were not born of birth mothers in this world, but were designed to be GENS, Genetically Engineered Non-Humans. Each GEN is enhanced with special skill sets that make them desirable workers for trueborns, who are the wealthy, high status members of society. When Kayla is assigned to work for a dying trueborn named Zul Mandel, she must leave her nurture family and the only home she's ever known--and forced into close proximity with his all-too-attractive grandson Devak.

The GENs are really slaves, forced into servitude and at the mercy of a cruel caste system that treats them as lower than the lowest born human. Skin color, clothing, jewels, land, drugs, and levitating cars are all blatant status symbols in this world, and it's interesting to see how the author works in echoes of previous shameful world events in the segregation of the GENs, the widely-held belief that touching a GEN would result in shriveled skin or crooked bones, and even in the saying "Work will make you safe," which is of course derived from "Work makes us free" from Nazi Germany and "Be happy in your work" from the The Bridge Over the River Kwai. These themes are all intelligently and subtly worked into the book in a way that never feels too blatant or pretentious.

Once the story got going, there are plenty of exciting events and issues to think about. I was fascinated by the well thought-out society as well as the presentation of the two very different religions to which humans and GENs subscribe.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent scifi novel filled with diversity July 2, 2012
First Impressions: Tankborn, I'll admit, first captured my attention by having a wonderfully colorful cover. I spotted it inside of a local bookstore and I loved how it featured a non-Caucasian girl on the cover, which is a rare find indeed in the Young Adult section. Not only that, but the blue hues that were used are extremely pretty. When I read the book synopsis and found out that Tankborn is a dystopian/sci-fi novel, it just made me want to read it even more. I have a thing for books with caste systems, kind of like The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins, and I was definitely intrigued. I hadn't heard of the author before so I wasn't too sure what to expect.

First 50 Pages: It took me a while to get use to the language inside of Tankborn. Everything has very unique names and the vocabulary aspect was different than I expected. I should have known better. Most science-fiction novels have interesting and different languages that usually takes time to get used to. Once I figured out what everything was, it became a much more enjoyable read. It didn't take me very long, maybe a chapter or two, so it wasn't a big deal. I do think that in order to be able to enjoy this book, you have to be a fan of what I call "high science-fiction," or just have a very good imagination. Karen Sandler does an unbelievably good job with her world-building and she includes a lot of details to help you along the way. I would say that Tankborn is more science-fiction then dystopian, on the exception of the caste system that is used. It was easy to get lost in Loka, the planet this story takes place on. Once I really dug into the story, it was very difficult to put back down.

Characters & Plot: Tankborn takes place on the planet, Loka, and is set 400 years after the destruction of Earth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tankborn has become a top favorite! May 26, 2012
I usually stay away from anything science fiction, but since this one was labeled as dystopian too (and I love those), I thought I should give it a try. I am very glad I did, because Tankborn has become a top favorite!

Humans left the Earth and settle on Loka, an arid planet with two suns and almost no green except in the genetically grown preserves. They survived by building a caste system, that kept everyone in its place. In an attempt to make lowborns more agreeable to high-born rule, they created Genetically Engineered Non-Humans or GENs. Grown in tanks using human and animal DNA, they are built with specific skets (skills sets) and assigned jobs working for high borns at the age of fifth teen. They have a sub-neural circuit installed that permits the download and upload of information from their annexed brain through a dermal interface tattoo place on their left cheek. It's like they have their own internal computer, and like any computer they can be realigned (reset). Even though there are rules against the mistreatment of GENs, they are still treated like scum.

I was a bit daunted at firs with all the jargon and big tech words, but as soon as I straightened it all out in my mind, I was immersed in the story. I found the whole world fascinating; filled with eight legged spider-like animals, micro-lev cars, wristlink communicators, holograms, and the GENs. And that is where the story starts, with a GEN girl.

Kayla 6982 of Chadi sector is a GEN with super strength in her arms and an even stronger will. She is a weird case because her GEN tattoo is on her right cheek. Close to her Assignment day she meets a highborn boy who defends her against some bullies. Bewildered by his nice treatment, she finds herself thinking about him all the time, something sacrilegious.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost didn't finish
I nearly didn’t finish this book, but I am oh so glad I stuck with it!

In this YA sci fi novel, author Karen Sandler tells the story of best friends Kayla and Mishalla-... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lindsey Hemming ~ ChickLitChickadees
4.0 out of 5 stars A YA novel with multiple worthy themes, with an impressive non-white...
There are a multitude of themes in this YA novel, all of them worth paying attention to. From racism, caste systems, the effects of bioengineering, slavery, corruption wihin the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Bibliotropic .net
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it a try
This book takes a few chapters to get into it. Once you figure out what some of the "new" names for things are, you're good. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Julie Weber
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Science Fiction...oh yeah, and dystopian too... :)
It's kind of reading through the other reviews of this book, everyone is all "O dystopia! Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kimberly Pauley
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating new world
A really fun read. It reminds me a lot of Jane Eyre, I found (actually, more particularly Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn), one of my favorites, only with a lot more action. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Peyt
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!
Karen Sandler brings a whole new dimension to post-Earth humanism. There are so many, we-killed-Earth-and-had-to-find-a-new-planet stories, that after awhile they all seem the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by J. Berky
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read
I'd like to take a moment to thank NetGalley for having this book because I wouldn't have known about it otherwise. None of my Goodreads friends have added it. Yet. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jen @ The Bevy Bibliotheque
4.0 out of 5 stars Great characters/great story
Tankborn set me on fire. I loved the storyline, the concept of a dystopian future where a group of Earth émigrés set up an exacting caste system when they colonize a... Read more
Published 21 months ago by b-writer
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Dystopian Read I have come across in a long time!
I thoroughly enjoyed this Dystopian story. The characters are well developed and relate-able, and the pace of the story meant I never got bored or felt the need to "skim" a slow... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Jennifer L. Manchester
4.0 out of 5 stars New Twist on the Futuristic
Tankborn is written for the teen set but I enjoyed it a lot. The new "words" used in the future on a different planet] were somewhat easy to figure out as they were based... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Christine J. Dieckhoff
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More About the Author

Karen Sandler published numerous romances for adults in the late '90s and early 2000s, then shifted to young adult with the science fiction Tankborn Trilogy, which includes TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION by Lee and Low/Tu Books.

In addition to writing novels, Karen loves riding dressage and is also an avid folk dancer. She lives in Northern California with her husband and dance partner, Gary, and two cats--pleasingly plump Tenka and formerly feral Zak. For more about Karen, visit or tweet her at @karensandlerYA or @karensandler.

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