June 12, 2014

Title: The Murder Complex

Series: The Murder Complex,
Book One

Author: Lindsay Cummings ♠ @authorlindsayc

Published: June 10, 2014

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Pages: 400

Genre(s): Young Adult ♠ Dystopian ♠ Thriller

Source: Edelweiss

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 06/11/2014): 3.79

  • Christina thought this title was a good. It goes on her 3rd shelf. To find out why…

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

♠ Initial Thoughts and Rating: 3 stars! I’ve followed Lindsay Cummings on a few social media sites for a while, and I adore her passion for books and her epic fangirl love for other authors. It’s adorable and incredibly endearing. So, I was extremely excited to finally get my hands on a galley of her new book (Thank you HC and Edelweiss!). With all that being said, I’m not sure I loved this title as much as I had really hoped I would. I don’t know if I built the author or the story up so much in my mind that I was a bit surprised that I didn’t love it more, but regardless, I wanted a little more from it. However, it was a good read, and I do plan on reading the sequel.

♠  The Lowdown: Meadow Woodson lives in a world after the Plague, where survivors don’t fear sickness anymore thanks to technological advances that allow nanites to cure the body at a rapid rate through their blood. Rather, death comes at the hand of man (or woman) and ruthless murders during the Dark Time. Trained all her life to survive, a lethal skill set demonstrated by her father who loved her through teaching her hand-to-hand combat and how to operate weaponry, Meadow is adapt as any to thrive in this type of society. Surviving off meager rations with little to share between herself, her father, older brother, and younger sister, Meadow is forced to search for a job amongst the Leeches and The Initiative. It’s with this job opportunity that Meadow’s life- the one where her mother was killed when she was younger, dwelling in the Shallows, and being poor- is twisted and morphs into this whole other life, one that all changes when she saves the life a single boy.

Zephyr James is supposed to be a no one, a Ward, a lowly piece of Shallow trash that rids the alleys of the discarded bodies that filthy up the streets from the murders that happened the night before. Only, he has a secret that he hasn’t told anyone. He has weird dreams, where he’s being trained as the ultimate weapon. Then he has holes in his memories and often times those are the days he wakes up with a body at his feet and the victim’s blood on his hands, on his clothes.

The Murder Complex is a commissioned group that is supposed to strictly monitor the population numbers within the Perimeter. But just how much are they interfering with the rise and fall of that number? Furthermore, what are Meadow and Zephyr’s roles within this secret organization?

Sometimes we have to give up little pieces of our humanity so that we can keep living.
~quote taken from the eARC of The Murder Complex, pg. 32

♠ My Thoughts: I really felt like The Murder Complex was a relatively good novel by a debut author. It seemed to follow the standard dystopian formula; the old world fell + current societal problems + hero and heroine meet (and fall in love) + secretive secrets that lead to the ultimate climax (and possible “shocker” moment) of the book. Don’t let that deter you from reading it, though. I felt like Cummings introduced a few elements, particularly the whole plot and how the population was being controlled and the fundamentals she used to spark the rise of the new society, that really added a certain element of originality to the genre. I also enjoyed the characters for the most part, especially a few of the secondary characters (Talan and Sketch) and our two main characters that we get to know well through the alternating dual narrations. Meadow and Zephyr had very distinct voices, and I didn’t hate being in their heads as they uncovered all the layers of mystery in the story as it unfolded around them.

I think the part of the book that I was missing the most was depth. I saw a great amount of potential for this book and its characters, and had the envelope just been pushed a tad more, that it could have carried a little more weight with me. Primarily with world-building and the character development, I would appreciated some more insight and explanation. Beyond the initial mentions in the beginning chapters of how the cures were developed and the brief mentions of surroundings that kind of blurred together, I don’t feel like I was given enough substance to truly feel immersed in this world Cummings had created. I also felt like the characters fell a tad flat beyond their easily distinguishable character traits, i.e. Meadow’s badassery and fierce love of her family and Zephyr’s protectiveness of Talan, immense hate of the Leeches, and his insta-connection with his “moonlit girl”.

♠ Rec It? Sure, I probably would. Cummings’s dystopian genre is worthy of a read. She has a solid foundation and characters to build on, and from the ending, I’ll definitely be curious to see how she continues the storyline from here.

If badass fighter chicks, sweet boys with a secret kill-switch, and violent thrillers with action and bloody messes are your thing, then I’d throw all my chips in that this is a book you’d enjoy.

A very special thanks to Greenwillow Books and Edelweiss for providing me with an early copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

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