Tankborn (Tankborn #1)
* I received a copy of this book through Netgalley and Lee & Low Books in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*
Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. GENs are gestated in a tank and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.
When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds secrets and surprises; not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul's great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night.
After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan to save the disappearing children. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, revealing secrets no one is ready to face.
While the idea of Genetically engineered humans is not completely original, author Karen Sandler added unique ideas to the story that kept me interested and wanting to learn more. This story attacks many tough topics; racism, caste systems and just - humanity in general. When is something considered human, and what crosses that line? Is it really our genetic makeup, or is it in our actions and the way we live our lives.
The tattoos on the GENS faces make it easy to identify them. The caste system however is a bit more complicated. Too dark of skin, or too light, and you are identified as the lower caste. the most desired skin color is a nice tan middle ground. However there can be pale, and dark skinned trueborns- and nice middle ground tanned lowborns- you can't always control skin color. This caste system seemed hard to follow at times... much of the time actually. I think that was one of the few things that really bothered me.
Overall I still really enjoyed the story and liked that it hit on some tough subjects that are not always talked about as much as they should be. The characters were great; both loveable, and hateable, well rounded and interesting. I never felt like any of the "main" characters were pointless. there was always a reason for them. I'm also not usually a fan of multiple storylines. But in Tankborn there were only two, and there was a real point to it. the lives of the characters are very different... but it will soon be revealed that there is a reason behind their placements! .. dun dun DUNNNNNNN!
It took me awhile to get into the story. The first few chapters were confusing, and at moments I felt bored. But I am so glad I stuck it out!
I'd love to hear your thoughts if you have read the story- it's a bit older so more of you my have read it than when I review newer books. If you haven't read it and it sounds interesting, give it a try!