Paperback, 448 pages
Published May 3rd 2012 by Orchard Books
Slated presents to the world a viable solution to terrorists and other deviants that threaten the peace in a human society. The government simply wipes their minds and removes their memories and personality, giving them a blank slate with which to start over. It is supposedly a humane way to deal with people who are a danger to the people they live among. I thought for a long while how I would feel about this technology were it introduced in the real world. Would I be quick to dismiss the procedure of wiping out a person’s personality, memories and everything else for the exchange of making them acceptable and harmless? By whose standards though? Isn’t taking away their essence inhumane even though no blood is spilled? Who decides whether they deserve the treatment?
Kyla, the protagonist of the novel wakes to find herself slated. She has no memory of who she was or even how she was. She is then given into the care of people who “become” her family: two parents and one sister.
Terry is very adept at characterization. Kyla is very likable and very genuine. Her nightmares, her gradual immersion into society read as an authentic portrayal. Kyla’s draconian mother who is much more than she seems, her sister who actually isn’t as awesome as we think her to be initially and her father who is much more sinister than one would think are all examples of the brilliant ways in which Terry complicates first impressions. All of her characters are multi-faceted and all of them have their own motivations, fears and places in the overarching story.
As Kyla’s life spirals out of control rapidly and she quickly realizes that there is a very present enemy who is using the Slated technology in ways it wasn’t meant to be used, she becomes more fleshed out. The romance is sweet and tragic. The ambiguity is one I appreciated since it leaves room for the love stuff to be explored in much more detail in the next book. The pacing is excellent and I like the speed with which things happen. I also liked how things do not have one side and even the Slating of people other than terrorists is more than just simply bad.
The novel is intrinsically British and I liked that. I love it when the novels reflect the culture in which they are written. The language used is especially reflective of the British-ness but I dare say that the attitudes and tone of the novel also paints it as British.
I wonder how Kyla is going to fare in the next book. She is part of something bigger, that much is true, but it still asks how much of herself is she and how much of her has been created by people seeking to use her. Can she have a happy ending when all is said and done? Will she be able to pick up the threads of her life and continue living? This was a good place to leave the readers and I look forward to finding some answers. I recommend this one. It’s entertaining and thought provoking.