Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: Janurary 22nd, 2013
There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.
Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and sent seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment her lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are – because no one else ever notices them.
I’m a Paranormal/Fantasy/Dystopian YA girl, but I was intrigued by the description of this book because it was YA with a bit of a sci-fi twist. It read in many ways as a YA Contemporary, though this didn’t bother me, even though that isn’t my usual fare. There was enough exciting odd stuff going on to keep me absorbed.
The premise of the book is basically that all people have energy, but a rare few are born with various energy abnormalities – Nulls, who can give their energy easily to others, which makes them very influential, but who cannot absorb energy from anyone else – which kind of makes them sociopaths. Then there are the opposite, the Nobodies, who cannot give their energy to anyone, and who therefore are incapable of having anyone care about them at all.
So in this world, we are introduced to Nix, a Nobody, who is used by the dubious Society to exterminate Nulls, once their lack of empathy inevitably leads them to start killing people. He has been taught his whole life that no one is even capable of loving him, so he accepts his lot in life bitterly. Then he meets Claire, another Nobody, who has no idea why her parents do things like abandon her in supermarkets and forget to even bother to come home and check on her. Nix meets Claire because he has been sent to kill her, but finds himself unable to do it, because she’s the first person who has ever really seen him. (Nobodies are able to exchange energy because their energy signature is the same.)
We have a bit of an annoying stretch of the book in which Nix is convinced that Claire is, indeed, a Null (since that’s what his perceived job is – killing Nulls), and the reason she effects him so much is her master manipulative powers (even though none of the Nulls he killed could do this to him – they never even saw him coming), yet he actually saves her life so HE can be the one to kill her, when he’s finally able to. It’s only after he just can’t kill her and gives up that he realizes that actually she’s not a Null – she’s like him.
Then we have an equally annoying stretch of angsty “OMG she’s the only person who I can ever really be with and without me she’ll be ignored and unloved but NOOOO I’m a killer and I’m not good enough so I have to leave even though that will hurt her blah-blah-blah…”
Once all that is out of the way, the story really picks up and is quite engaging. It is very much worth trudging through the first fifty-or-so pages of bleakness and angst. The first part of the story is very bleak, because it is told in alternating narratives by Nix and Claire, who are about as alone as anyone can possibly be. (This bleakness is understandable, but still a bit troubling to read.) Once they decide to work together to figure out the true aim of The Society (since obviously they weren’t just sending him out to kill Nulls), that bleakness is replaced by some great tension, mystery and a sweetness as the relationship between the two characters matures and becomes very tender and romantic.
Lots of excellent twists and turns toward the end definitely make for a satisfying reading experience.
P.S.: I know a few people might complain about the “insta-love” factor in this book, but to me, it seems completely logical that two people who are the only ones in the world who are even capable of loving the other would immediately be very drawn to one another and fall in love. And it still took them a while to be together. Plus, deep affection can happen quickly sometimes, especially in highly emotionally-charged situations.
Rating: 4 Star – Good Book
Content: Violence, but not unnecessary violence, and not very graphic.
Source: Won from a blog giveaway