Published by Harper Collins on June 10th 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Alternative Family, Family, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn't know it—one of the MC's programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family? Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.
The world as Meadow Woodson knows it has always been in ruins. She lives in the Shallows with her family on their houseboat. Her father has taught her how to survive: kill or be killed. Every night people are killed for no reason, and Wards, the insignificant members of society, clean the bloodied streets every Sunday. Zephyr James is one of those Wards, but he has a secret. He doesn’t know what he does during the night, only that he wakes up covered in blood, sometimes with a body at his feet. More importantly, who is the moonlit girl that he dreams of, and how is she connected to his problem?
The Murder Complex was an extremely dark book. Filled with murder and conspiracy, how could it not have been? It had a sort of Biblical feel to it, and by that I mean Revelations. The only way to get a job in their society required those sixteen and up to kill an adversary. In order to receive rations, each member of society had a barcode tattooed on his or her forehead. There were multiple things that tilted towards a government with too much control, and I kept flipping through the pages to see what they would control next.
Even though this book did have dark elements, Cummings did include a love story. The entire book is told in dual perspective, which I’ve come to love, and alternated between Meadow and Zephyr. Even though they were part of the same world, they might as well have had lived on two completely different planets, and each difference added to the journey. They didn’t have an outright romance but tenuous encounters. Meadow had been taught to trust no one, and Zephyr trusted no one but her. The way they acted around one another kept me guessing the entire time, and I never knew how the other was going to react to what the other did.
After meeting Lindsay Cummings at the Southeast Summer Book Bash, I couldn’t wait to start her book. I have had my eyes on it for a while, and it was on the top of my list. Luckily, I had an excuse to get a copy since she was one of the authors at the signing.
This book is deep. There were moments when, after thinking about some of the events that had just taken place, the pure depth of what she was saying about the human condition and this corrupt society’s outlook on life and death were overwhelming—I loved it! I definitely continued on to a lighter read after finishing The Murder Complex but have already been sucked into this new world.
The Murder Complex is a perfect example of Science Fiction in the Young Adult market that would suit any age group. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced story with a conspiracy hanging around the edges to keep you guessing.