E-galley received from Netgalley for review.
I should remember that Thomas Nelson publishes Christian fiction. With this book, you don't have to wait long before things get preachy. And I mean very preachy indeed.
Thalli is a sixteen-year-old who lives in the State. She lives underground, together with her fellows from Pod C, because the air above ground is polluted and toxic. In each Pod everyone has a specific job; Thalli is a musician. But there's more to that; she has feeling and emotions, and this is not tolerated in the State. The Ten Scientists who rule the country have determined feelings to be the cause of war, which has destroyed the world.
Once Thalli is discovered as a threat to life in the Pod, she's taken to the Scientists for annihilation. But, before that, she's rescued by her friend Berk, who comes from her same Pod and is training as a Scientist. Berk persuades the other Scientists to keep Thalli alive and use her as a test subject. Down there Thalli also meets John, an old man who tells her of the Designer who created the world using love.
Feelings, personal choice, and sickness have no place in the State. A friend of Thalli's is taken away from the Pod as a young girl because she has a cold (!!). Children have no real parents; they're created by the Scientists who manipulate their DNA, put together according to their age, and forced to live in closed-off communities. Each Pod is allowed to have a look at the moon ince a week. Every activity is carefully programmed and scheduled. As young kids, Thalli and Berk strike up a friendship, but he has to leave the Pod shortly after to start training as a Scientist. Berk has always been treated better than the other children; he was encouraged to ask questions and develop his own opinions.
After Thalli is taken for annihilation, she has to live in the lab quarters. There she meets John, an old man who is the father to one of the Scientists. John was born naturally and grew up with his parents. He tells Thalli about the Bible and God's love. Things get very, very preachy after that.
I probably wouldn't have minded about the religious parts if this book had had a strong plot and/or interesting characters. Unfortunately, it had neither. Both Thalli and Berk are very bland and don't seem special. The plot is vague and very little happens until the very end, setting up the beginning for the next book in the series. Which I won't be reading.