Friday, November 11, 2011
Tankborn by, Karen Sandler
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 the 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. With the help of an intriguing lowborn boy, Mishalla begins to suspect that something horrible is happening to them.
After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan with their new friends to save the children who are disappearing. Yet, can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, one that may reveal secrets no one is ready to face.
This book grabbed my attention instantly. Just the title alone reminds me of the Matrix, humans being genetically engineered and grown in tanks. I didn't even read the synopsis before jumping into this novel. I kind of wish I did, though. It might have prepared me for some of the strange language.
The story itself is pretty amazing. The author weaves a world where the caste system is strongly in place and the selfish quality of humans is well portrayed. Earth crumbles and humans move to Loca where they start over. They don't learn from their mistakes, though. They worsen in their ways. The most important things are status, wealth, and land. Part of that is owning GENs, to abuse and use in whatever way. The GENs have been raised to believe that their god has designed all this and their servitude is a part of the plan. There is some romance, but it does not muddle the plot, nor does it take away from it.
The characters are not as developed as I had hoped for. There is so much action, that it seemed rushed to get to know them. If this was a series, I would have been okay with that as there would be time later, but this seems to be a stand alone novel. What was developed, I loved! Mishalla has such a huge heart, Kayla so courageous, and Zul such an amazing leader despite his handicap.
Back to the language part. Just like most sci-fi books, Tankborn does have its share of slang. For some reason, the words used to replace today's is odd. For me, it did not flow well and it distracted from the whole point. I don't know what to recommend because an author has full liberty in science fiction. It didn't take away to omuch, but enough for me to say something.
In all, I really enjoyed this novel. The struggle of the lower class, the reasoning to explain how the human race got to where it is in the storyline, and the disillusionment of the GENs. I wish the story could have been longer or there was a sequel because I would love to see where Kayla's life could go from here.