Disclaimer: I received an electronic version of this novel from the author for review.
Things I really enjoyed about this novel: The world-building. The terrifying dystopian society fueled by human sacrifice. The representation of science versus magic, and how the two can be indistinguishable. The religious allegories. The twist and other revelations at the very end. Warner creates a fascinating parallel universe with obvious thought put into familiar allegories, enough that I was willing to forgive moments where logic might fall apart.
Things I really disliked about this novel: It starts with the main character and grows from there. Thomas is not a sympathetic character beyond the first few pages and I basically kept reading for the story elements even as I constantly rolled my eyes and sighed at the protagonist (fortunately, the writing itself is strong and flows at a good pace). The contrived relationship arc never felt realistic, especially since the potential partner is set up as “should know better” from the beginning. The “romance” limps along despite Thomas’ constant immaturity and any good sense on Lily’s part. Unfortunately, her story arc ends with an over-used fiction trope. I would have stopped reading there if I’d had more than an hour left per my Kindle.
Warner’s tepid and unlikable protagonist does a disservice to the excellent potential of the world created for this story.