The book opens with Riley and her younger brother hiding in a cellar from the local sheriff. They aren’t hiding because they are criminals on the lam. They are hiding because Riley is female, a young female. A free female. She would catch a might big price from the breeders. Or she could be fun to have around. Either way, Riley must constantly hide who she is. Because in this world, where the human race is having trouble populating itself she is the most precious thing around.

I love all things dystopian. I love the dark grimy feeling of these worlds. I love that authors get to explore humans at their absolute worst, and best. Katie French does just that. Everything written in this book shows us at our darkest and best moments. We shine to new heights, only to have a bad apple or more bring us back down to the lowest.

Riley is a strong character, or she tries to be. She does everything she can for her family, even risking her self and other around her to make sure everyone she loves is free and safe. I found myself admiring her, and groaning every time she made a silly decision. She’s only 16 but one has to think that in times like this, that 16 would be a very adult age. It is after all after the end of the world. Childhood would be extremely limited, and short. And in some ways it was for Riley, but she also had a family that sheltered her. Something that seems rare in any dystopian world.

Her younger brother Ethan is wonderful. He’s got that great younger brother thing going for him. Adorable, yet slightly annoying.

Clay, the love interest, is well, interesting. He’s got secrets. He was raised much differently than Riley, so their coming together from two different worlds is a great mix and adds some nice drama to their relationship.

The sheriff, and the Breeders as the baddies are wonderful. They both have mysterious aspects to them, and neither is what they fully seem to be. Not much can be said about both without being spoilerish.

The writing was great. I was gripped from page one and didn’t stop reading until I was done. Well I stopped to work, and play with the kids, but every spare chance I got I was reading this book.

It’s a wonderful start to the series and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.