“There was nothing quite like the first tick of a new heart.”
Anna has a secret – two. A mechanical heart beats inside her chest. And she is the Technician, disregarding the Commissioner’s laws against tech to provide technology to those who need it.
“If he could find the Technician, hunt him down, and turn him in…”
Nathaniel is always looking for ways to prove himself to his father, the Commissioner. When a new opportunity arises he jumps at it, planning to capture the Technician – who he believes is an old man – to show his father that he is the heir that the Commissioner wants.
“Perhaps all pretty things had thorns. The best things, at least, most certainly did.”
Meanwhile, the Queen is suspicious of the Commissioner’s motives. She sends her spy, Eliza, to Earth Adjacent to discover what secrets the Commissioner has been keeping.
When the three meet up, they join in an uneasy alliance, fueled by their desire to learn what, exactly, the Commissioner is up to. And as they unveil more and more about the Commissioner and the Queen herself, Eliza starts to doubt who she really trusts. When a dangerous secret is revealed, however, they must all put their doubts aside and work together before they get caught – and now, getting caught is equal to death.
So we have three main characters. Anna is the tech-y one. She is fiercely loyal, slightly rash, and is terrified of doing the surgeries that her grandfather does, as a Physician. She lives in a small town named Mechan that is hidden from The Settlement by a cliff and if the Commissioner ever finds out about Mechan he will destroy it. I liked Anna for many reasons – her protectiveness, her mechanical smarts and the fact that she runs a secret business right under the nose of those who are looking for her. Also there’s the fact that her entire town is hidden from The Settlement, not that far away, either.
Then there’s Nathaniel. Nathaniel is the one that everyone feels bad about. His father’s only heir, but a disappointment to his family because he also has a metal heart in his chest – the very technology that his father has banished. For his entire life, whatever he does is never enough for his abusive father and this drives him to try to capture the Technician to prove himself.
Finally, we have Eliza who, at first glance, doesn’t seem to belong in the story. She doesn’t live on the same world as Anna and Nathaniel, instead residing in The Tower, the space station where the queen and many others – called ‘Orbitals’ by those in Earth Adjacent – live while waiting for Earth Adjacent to be fully terra-formed. But it is really Eliza who brings all three of them together.
The world, too, is unlike anything I’ve read. It’s such an interesting setting and idea for the world which just makes the entire book more interesting to read. I’m still amazed that Anna’s entire town was able to hide from the Commissioner. I’m curious to know what the rest of the island, besides the Settlement and Mechan is like.
There was only one problem I had with this book and it was a small one. I felt like the relationship between two characters developed too quickly. I understand that there was not much time in the book for it to develop but it just seemed very hurried.
This is a book I would recommend to anyone age 12 or older. I would give it a rating of four out of five stars and there is a f/f relationship and a character unsure of their sexuality at the end of the book (though this person is beginning to think that they are asexual/aromantic).
What do you think about this book? Have you read it? Do you want to read it? What did you think about this review? Tell me what you think!