I recently had the pleasure of reading a YA dystopic future novel, The Complex by C.E Zaragoza, below is the cover and the synopsis..

 

The Complex – a young adult dystopia

Helena Linx is dying. Isolated and quarantined for over a decade, sixteen-year-old Helena lives in a virtual utopia run by a council of doctors bent on saving the world from a fatal and almost incurable disease. The pandemic has been contained, but she and hundreds of others are still waiting to be cured. Helena dreams of returning to the outside world and leaving behind the heavily regulated world of the Eyam Complex, a place where everything runs according to plan…until one fateful morning. 

Things begin to change in the complex. And after everything dear to Helena—her father, her brother, and her boyfriend—is taken away, she finally gets what she wants.

But life on the outside isn’t what Helena expected. Never in her wildest dreams did Helena think that she’d leave Eyam only to become so desperate to get back in.
I have to say I always love reading novels in this genre, because you never know what you’re going to get. With stories that are set in the future the author has the freedom to create their own unique and intriguing world, and C.E Zaragoza pulled this off and then some. After a brief prologue, the novel kicks off in Eyam, a strange closed off community in a large complex building. We meet Helena who is young but intelligent, and we discover that she and every other person in Eyam is suffering from an illness known as Cavall. This illness is what caused the breakdown of society and the reason why Helena and her family and many others have spent more than a decade living in quarantine. 

I loved the sinister undertones to this novel, my suspicions were initially piqued when it was mentioned how despite Helena having had Cavall since she was a child she has never really felt sick. It quickly becomes apparent that those living in Eyam are being kept in the dark about many things. The problem is, most of them accept their immediate reality without asking any questions. Several things happen to cause Helena to start wondering if all is truly as it seems. I thought it was great how the author was subtle in showing that for some reason whenever anyone began showing any signs of rebellion or individuality they would soon find that they were cured and could go and start their new lives in the outside world. 

This book really sucks you in, I found myself sitting down to read for a half an hour but there was just so much mystery that I couldn’t stop. By the end of each chapter something new happens that makes you want to continue reading into the wee hours of the morning. Eyam was like a pleasant sort of prison, you know that those living there have no freedom, yet their lives aren’t particularly difficult and they have everything they could ever ask for. Cuisines of all variety are served on demand in the dining area. Helena doesn’t have to cook or do any other house work as it is all done for her. It will probably show my lazy side, but I really liked this futuristic aspect. All of the young people get to study for their chosen career, Helena studies art while her brother studies law.

My favourite character, aside from Helena, was Isaac Akhos, a sort of wild rogue living in the outside world who ends up kidnapping Helena to get the attention of the Medcouncil. I liked how he enlightened her as to the true nature of what happened to the world while she was living in Eyam, and how he affectionately nicknamed her Linx. Anyway, I’m hoping to see more of him in the next book in the series. I was amazed by how well written the novel was as a whole, as there is a large cast of characters, who are all given a good amount of exploration within the narrative. The best thing about the story was that it just kept you guessing all the time, and I found myself trying to figure out whether people could be trusted or not and if they had hidden agendas. Overall, this was a highly original story from a young and talented author who I have no doubt has many great books in her to come. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a story that contains mystery, action and intrigue.

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