Review copy received through Enchanted Book Promotions
In a world full of genetically-altered clones called GEMs, Mina Hart is a Blemished, i.e. imperfect. She's forced to cover her hair with a headscarf, work as a servant for the GEMs, and forbidden to have children. On her first day at St. Jude's school, Mina befriends another Blemished girl, Angela. Then she meets Angela's adoptive brother Daniel and is soon drawn to him. Then there's Sebastian, the handsome GEM boy that Mina is forbidden to even talk to. Moreover, Mina is keeping a big secret, one that could threaten her whole life...
First of all, this dystopian series is set in Great Britain, and it's refreshing to read something set on this side of the Atlantic for once. Britain has been taken over by a company called Ministry, which creates babies artificially by combining their DNA according to the requests. Thus, babies are not created naturally. Those who are rich enough to afford services from the Ministry can have GEM babies; the others are called Blemished and forced to work as servants. They get only a partial education: girls study Sex-Ed (some biology), while boys don't go to school at all and do manual labour. Blemished girls are forced to wear a headscarf covering their hair and to have an Operation at sixteen which makes them infertile. I liked this side of the story, à la The Handmaiden's Tale.
Mina Hart has just moved to a different Area of Britain with her father. Her mother is long gone; she joined the Resistance (a group who fights against the Ministry) and is probably dead. But Mina is also special; she has powers that could put her life into jeopardy, were they to be discovered. She's a spunky, brave heroine ane easy to relate to.
The story is action-packed and moving fast; there's never a dull moment. We're led to gradually discover different aspects of life in Britain under the Ministry rule. I'm definitely going to keep reading this series.