#Bookreview – Subject A36 by Teri Polen

What Amazon says

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

My review

Subject A36 is a fascinating story about genetic engineering taken to an extreme. I have done research about the not so futuristic concept of “Designer children”, where parents are able to chose their children’s characteristics from eye colour to increased IQ and sporting skills, and so the ideas in this book had the distinct ring of possibility. This made the story line very frightening.

Asher lives in a world where no-one gets sick. All people have been genetically enhanced not to get sick. The wealthy in this new society, live a privileged and sheltered life in The Colony, while the less fortunate citizens of the planet, live as outsiders constantly on the lookout for Colony soldiers. As payment for their disease free existence, the children of the outsiders, and sometimes the whole family, are randomly selected and taken to Colony laboratories where their desirable genetic traits are stripped from them and given to the wealthy. Unfortunately, the so called donors, don’t survive this process.

Asher’s family are among those taken for genetic stripping, but due to his father’s foresight, he is able to escape the soldiers and join up with another family of resistors to this oppressive system. Years later, Asher is entrenched in the resistance and is one of their key operators when the go out on missions to try to save the unfortunates who have been selected for gene stripping.

Asher is an interesting character. From the beginning of the story, the reader is aware that Asher has unusual physical traits. He is taller and stronger than other men his age and is able to get by on very little sleep. He is an intense and passionate person and is in love with Brynn, the daughter of the family he found shelter with after his own family was taken. Asher has never fully recovered from the loss of his family and feels immeasurably guilty about the fact he had to leave his two sisters behind when they were on the run from the soldiers. Asher was following his father’s instructions but he doesn’t know why his father was so determined that he escape at all costs. I really enjoyed Asher’s intensity, intelligence and focus.

Brynn is a wonderful female lead character and is a good role model for modern girls. She is strong and tough but she has retained the understanding and nurturing qualities innate to a good mother and wife. Brynn is the person who helps Asher deal with the pain of his loss and his feelings of guilt and inadequacy.

This is a fast paced book about a topical subject. The author has done her research well and the medical and bio-technical aspects are well presented and believable. Her characterisations are excellent and Ms Polen manages to spring some big surprises on her readers when characters chose the lower moral and ethical road, rather than the high one. These portrayals help make the story believable as she portrays the full range of human characteristics from greed, selfishness, ambition and heartlessness to devotion, empathy and loyalty.

I am looking forward to book 2 in this series.

Purchase Subject A36

38 thoughts on “#Bookreview – Subject A36 by Teri Polen

    1. I do enjoy the characters too, Teri. It is the premise of this book that really captivates me. I am fascinated by genetic engineering and, frankly, given the entitlement and greed that rule our world, I don’t think this concept is that unbelievable at all.

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  1. Such a wonderful review, Robbie, so I just ordered the paperback for my guy, who enjoys sci fi and fast-paced books. And truly, science fiction just helps us see into the future, and perhaps even mold the future differently than it would be if we didn’t think ahead of the consequences of “progress,” like genetic engineering. I see on Amazon that it’s for readers 7-12th grades. But really, sounds to me like it’s a book for all ages….

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