TMCBy Lindsay Cummings

Year: 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Rating: 4.5/5

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An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

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.

Count to three. Relax your mind. Now survive.
(and read this book!)

This is a book which I started hearing mumblings of a few months before it came out, but I was never really hooked on reading it until I heard someone mention that the setting of the book is a society where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate. As soon as I heard that, I knew that I had to jump on this bandwagon immediately. And so I patiently waited for this book and had to start reading it on my kindle mere minutes after it was published!

When I started reading this world, the thing that drew me in most was the uniqueness of the dystopian setting. I’ve read a lot of dystopian books recently and (not that I’m saying it’s necessarily a bad thing) they all seem to follow a common thread; a teenage boy or girl lives in the middle of a huge, linear, seemingly-perfect society, and goes on to learn that really the leaders are all-evil, or there are super-evil outside forces. But in THE MURDER COMPLEX, the society is a very dark, broken place, and everyone knows it. People don’t go out when the Dark Time comes, because when night falls, people start dropping like flies. Murder rings through the streets, and no one is safe.

The story is told from two perspectives, giving us a more rounded view of the world. The first (and probably the main) character who tells the story is our fearless heroine Meadow Woodson, a fifteen year old girl who has been learning for years the intricate art of staying alive. Her father has been putting her through rigorous training, teaching her skills that she’ll need to survive, as well as training her how to kill. The second main character, Zephyr James, is different. He is an orphan (known as a ward in the book) who spends his time cleaning the streets of dead bodies. He keeps himself to himself, for the main, and tries not to attract attention. However, it’s when our two main characters meet that things start to get going. Within a short amount of time (too short of a time?) the two begin to build a relationship, but things go sour when, during a Zephyr-perspective chapter, things start to seem strange. Almost robotic. And we’re introduced to The Murder Complex; Zephyr’s mind leaves his control and he goes on a murderous rampage, eager to kill Meadow.

Things start to get crazy from them on, and if I have one complain about this book it’s that things speed by a little too fast at some points—I found myself sometimes having to skim back a few pages to try and catch up on what was happening. But that’s really a small criticism, and having such a fast-paced story reflects on the fact that the story does happen very fast and just as we have to try to keep up, Meadow has to keep up in the story. It makes for somewhat of a more realistic read, and that’s one thing that I really appreciated in the book. Sometimes you read a dystopian book and you can tell that you’re reading something that’s been fabricated, but with THE MURDER COMPLEX, it feels genuine. Meadow and Zephyr are interesting and complete characters, and the story ties together very nicely.

And in the midst of all of this, there’s a recurring theme. Blood. A lot of blood. Even from the title, “MURDER” we have to expect blood. So much killing happens in this book, guys. There’s a lot of bloodshed, and Lindsay Cummings describes some of Meadow and Zephyr’s handiwork in really, really awesomely gruesome details.

I don’t want to get too far into the main plot details, but there are a lot of pretty great things to find in this book. There are pirates, a walled-in society with deadly secrets, and a little spice of mystery thrown in. You’ll grow attached to these characters, and be screaming inhuman noises when you turn the last page after the ending that THE MURDER COMPLEX has in store for you. This book really is fantastic. There’s a perfect balance of thriller and action, and with some really great rounded off characters it’s difficult to put THE MURDER COMPLEX down at some points. Lindsay Cummings’ debut novel is one that I recommend whenever I can, and I’ll definitely be going back for a re-read at some point before the series continues on.


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