by Beth Kander
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Fifty years in the future, after most humans have made themselves immortal by becoming part-machine (“Syns,” short for Synthetic), two teenagers come together to rebel against the inevitability of their situations. Ere, an “Original,” who is fighting for survival in the wilderness of the United States, is one of the youngest and last of his kind and has to deal with very human experiences of loss and change. In direct contrast, Ever, a beautiful and privileged Syn, rejects her family’s choice. The narrative switched back and forth between the two worlds, nicely building tension, and the plot twists kept me turning pages. I loved that this story explored some of the unmentioned repercussions of immortality, like that Ever and her mother are stuck perpetually in a teenager/mother relationship that is only ever bearable because it ends someday. The technological details were great too, like the Syns’ finger ports that both charge them and upload their day’s data, including all memories. When Ever goes into private mode, there are subtle and not-so-subtle readings into that choice that she must take into account. I’m looking forward to the next two installments in the trilogy!