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HASH: The Institute (Book #1) (Imprint Series) Kindle Edition
|Length: 182 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The Prologue pulls the reader in right from the get go. A spaceship crash lands in the middle of nowhere. The crash takes out an unsuspecting family driving down the road leaving only one survivor, a three year old girl. An alien on the brink of death transfers a metal (to me much like a soul which I will explain in a little bit) to the girl. It’s a painful experience that never leaves our heroin, Jade, who has now spent her life cooped up in a laboratory since she was three. With great power, comes great responsibility and Jade benefits from it. So much so that she has become an experiment.
We catch up with Jade, now in her late teens, very attractive and overly burdened. The author does a wonderful job of teasing the reader with a new character called Em. Em represents the metal infusion which had intertwined with Jade’s physical body. Remnants of it reach out from her spine. I constantly found myself wondering if this was an alien implant technology, the soul of the alien or just a way for Jade’s mind to deal with her special power. Em cannot be seen by anyone except Jade and they have a very interesting relationship. I would say it is sisterly which added a nice touch to the story and the dimension of the character. Together they express themselves through conflict which eventually becomes comforting. The conflict that is. Em as the “know it all” and Jade, tolerating her because she has to. Sound familiar?
Dr. Stevens is the science project lead overseeing the removal of the alien metal. If the metal is removed it will kill Jade. She is the only mother figure Jade has and the Doctor is well aware of that. Unfortunately, Startech, the company who has bought out the project will be moving Dr. Stevens out and replacing her with Dr. Ahern who is all business and has a “bigger vision.” This sets up a very classic battle that reminded me of Spock’s death in the movie Star Trek. “The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.” Stevens represents the heart of caring for an individual and Ahern represents the needs of society. There is a catch here and I find it very compelling. Greed. Ahern uses the argument when underlying is corporate greed.
A sinister plot awaits as we are introduced to a new character named Aric. The love interest is well handled and crosses a number of thresholds whether or not the intent was there. First the concept of a human and alien falling in love which crosses the boundaries of what romance is. They have many commonalities that attract them to each other beyond physical attributes. They each have the metal imbedded in their skin, they are both survivors of the crash and each lost their parents. Above all of that they have been a constant source of experimentation. Aric is tall dark and handsome and very powerful. Much beyond human strength, he has abilities that no human has. I realize none of this sounds very sinister, but when you mix in the earlier plot conflict then this aspect becomes much more enhanced. Why? Because Startech no longer needs Jade if a baby is born. You see up until now, Aric and Jade have been kept apart, but now that Startech is involved they want the two to breed. Once the baby is born, Jade’s metal will be removed and scientists will no longer have the need to worry about what happens to Jade.
Startech turns this into a life or death situation and under the current circumstances, I don’t blame Jade and Aric for wanting to break out of the test tube. They devise a plan to leave the world they have always known for the outside. I will not disclose who makes it, who doesn’t and what they find.
There are some minor issues that I have with HASH. I thought at times I would have liked to been in the moment of the scene over having an explanation. I would have liked the book to have been a little longer for more development, but don’t forget this is a story that is spanning across several books, so there is plenty of time for the past to erupt as the author moves forward in the series.
Overall, I found the writing crisp and on point. The characters are well developed and believable. Dialogue is very good and well-paced. This book will meet the requirements for any sci-fi enthusiast. People who enjoy light romance will also enjoy HASH if they are looking for something different. I absolutely love the whole concept of a living metal and HASH kept me interested from beginning to end. Well done.
Characters side: Since it's written in the first person POV of Jade, the imprisoned girl, we only know what she does, and sees, and since she only meets Aric later in the story for only a few brief moments before the big final, we don't get to learn much about him. Yet, that's understandable, but I wished we could have learned to know Jade a bit more. Em, the imprint and a character we think for the longest time is a figment of Jade's imagination is probably the one that felt the most alive. She was fun, teasing, and likeable.
I don't know if we can call what Jade and Aric have love or mutual attraction, but it didn't feel natural. The few times they met, they didn't even talk. Or at least, we're told they didn't because these parts were skimmed by the author. Then they kiss and…connect.
Over all, there's not much happening in this novella, but I didn't expect it either since it's so short. The book ends at 77%. The rest are chapters from the sequel. I have started to read them but haven't finished yet. Will I continue and buy the sequels, honestly, I'm not sure yet.
HASH is a quick read that would probably best suit a young audience.