Monday, June 16, 2014

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
Release Date - June 10, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 398 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings
After reading the synopsis for The Murder Complex my first thought was that it seemed familiar. It does have plenty in common with the blockbuster dystopian novels that have popular these past few years, but Lindsay Cummings puts a unique twist on the story and creates something utterly her own.

Blood and action are this novel's currency. In a world where the death rate is exceptionally high the amount of bloodshed could easily paint the character's world red. The frequent action created a tightly paced, fast read when combined with it's shorter, alternating chapters. Those looking for quieter, character driven stories won't find that here as the action dictates that this is a more story driven novel.

Meadow will be the element from this book that everyone talks about. She's tough, driven, focused. If she has cracks in her steely armour she doesn't let them be known. As a reader we get to see the softness that is barely a whisper in rare moments. Her connection with her sister is a glimpse at who she might have been if things were different. It's a 'what if' that is tantalizing and serves to hammer in how unjust Meadow's world is. It's a nice contrast, and one that gave Meadow some much needed layers.

Family, and those relationships, are important to the story. Meadow's family is a presence that is felt during her journey, and is one that shapes it. For better or worse they are never far from her mind when decisions are being made. I found myself wanting more glimpses into her training sessions with her father. I wanted her relationship with her brother explored more. Her and her sister's bond is such a huge part of who Meadow is that I feel it was a beautifully developed part of her character.

Zephyr's easy nature makes him Meadow's opposite, but there is something that pulls them together. The romance feels quick, but it has a potentially mystical element to it. While it's not fully explained in the first novel, the teases we did get offer a potential reason for this magnetic pull. Zephyr has more secrets than it appears at first glance, and unraveling his story is part of what made parts of this novel so compelling. His story is only beginning and it's progression is what I am most looking forward to in the subsequent novels. The weaving together of his story with Meadow's own is what fascinated me. They each have their own part to play in a much larger story. This aspect may end up saving the romance, and allow the characters to develop independently and together. Glimpses of this potential are shown throughout the novel, but how well it works depends on the following novels, and if this is built upon.

The world Lindsay Cummings has created is well developed. She knows exactly what the story needs from it's setting and surroundings to make it work. It's obvious that thought went into creating the landscape,  it's government, and back story. The characters seem to have been created after the world, in order to inhabit it, but they don't quite mesh as cohesively as I wanted.  This means I didn't fall into the story the way I hoped, and therefore didn't connect with the novel the way I wanted to. It's something I cannot quite put my finger on. The narration reads current, but the use of created slang felt a little jarring. I couldn't quite get a sense of when this was taking place, and it felt a little disjointed. The use of created words is tricky, and either works really well, or creates a barrier. The made up swear words, unfortunately, took me out of the story. They didn't mesh with the tone, or vibe the writing and world created.

Fans of strong characters, gripping action scenes, and thought out world building will find plenty to enjoy in The Murder Complex's pages. I may not have connected with it the way I wanted to, but I was intrigued enough to eagerly anticipate the next chapter of Meadow's story.

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