Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.
Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.
Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.
Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.
If you have read the synopsis for this novel, you will understand exactly why it is so intriguing. The mystery it promises reeled me in and I began with the intention of reading a few pages but about two and a half hours later, turned the last page. Lo knows how to tell a story. She knows how to reel a reader in and while Adaptation had some flaws, you have to give credit where it is due.
It is inevitable that I will end up discussing the romance in this novel because of two reasons: one, it is a large portion of the novel and two, it is the weakest part of the novel in my opinion. The love triangle here is inevitable but it is an interesting one because one of the players for our heroine’s affections is a girl. I couldn’t connect to Reese at all and I felt that someone who has such overwhelmingly strong feelings for the boy in her life, falling almost immediately for the next person (regardless of their gender) was a bit unbelievable. The hurricane fast progression of Amber and Reese’s relationship is a bit baffling especially considering that Reese has not even considered liking girls before she met Amber. A bit more caution, a bit more hesitancy on Reese’s part would have made the whole thing a lot more realistic than it ends up being.
The only way I can make myself accept the hurried pace of their relationship is by a bit of theorizing and this will take place under the spoiler tags. (Highlight to read.) Amber is an alien and comes neatly packaged with these supernatural talents which perhaps also includes persuasion. So their relationship may have had genuine seeds but Amber may have used her talents to get the ball rolling and keep Reese entangled, manipulating her emotionally to keep her pliant. This, of course, is supremely icky and I hope I am wrong but well, it makes sense in my head.
David is portrayed a bit too ideally for my taste and he is way too understanding and accepting for it to be realistic. Moving on to the actual narrative, the premise that is unsurprisingly overshadowed by the romance, things are interesting though the entire secret that the book is built on is not really as surprising as I was hoping it would be. And I was surprised how the reason for the plane crash is added in almost as an afterthought.
Despite all my complaints however, I did enjoy the book. It is very readable and Lo shows with eerie precision how helpless ordinary citizens can be when the enemy is the government. When people who are supposed to be working for your good turn around and decide you are expendable, now that is real terror and Lo is uncannily adept at narrating the fear, the terror associated with these instances. I can’t tell you whether to read this book or not, but I can encourage you to make up your own mind about it.