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Tankborn

Tankborn - Karen Sandler I usually stay away from anything science fiction, but since this one was labeled as dystopian too (and I love those), I thought I should give it a try. I am very glad I did, because Tankborn has become a top favorite! Humans left the Earth and settle on Loka, an arid planet with two suns and almost no green except in the genetically grown preserves. They survived by building a caste system, that kept everyone in its place. In an attempt to make lowborns more agreeable to high-born rule, they created Genetically Engineered Non-Humans or GENs. Grown in tanks using human and animal DNA, they are built with specific skets (skills sets) and assigned jobs working for high borns at the age of fifth teen. They have a sub-neural circuit installed that permits the download and upload of information from their annexed brain through a dermal interface tattoo place on their left cheek. It’s like they have their own internal computer, and like any computer they can be realigned (reset). Even though there are rules against the mistreatment of GENs, they are still treated like scum. I was a bit daunted at firs with all the jargon and big tech words, but as soon as I straightened it all out in my mind, I was immersed in the story. I found the whole world fascinating; filled with eight legged spider-like animals, micro-lev cars, wristlink communicators, holograms, and the GENs. And that is where the story starts, with a GEN girl. Kayla 6982 of Chadi sector is a GEN with super strength in her arms and an even stronger will. She is a weird case because her GEN tattoo is on her right cheek. Close to her Assignment day she meets a highborn boy who defends her against some bullies. Bewildered by his nice treatment, she finds herself thinking about him all the time, something sacrilegious. Her Assignment turns out to be taking care of an old highborn called Zul who seems to know more about her origins and GENs like her, the ones whose tattoo is on the wrong side. Kayla will find herself falling for a boy who rules and religion dictate is out of her reach, immersed in an old conspiracy plot that can turn out to be another uprising. When she is presented with the opportunity, will she choose a new beginning for herself or will she stay and help others like her?Devak is troubled by the sudden feelings he has for Kayla. Because even though he follows grandfather’s views, he still feels ashamed about being called a GEN lover. It’ll be some time before he realizes that GENs have feelings, have desires and dreams too. Will he have the courage to stand up for what he believes is right?Mishalla is Kayla’s best friend. She’s a nurturer, set to care for orphan low born children. But when they begin taking the children in the middle of the night for relocation, Mishalla starts to think there’s something wrong going on. Add to that the mysterious lowborn at the market and the forbidden tech he gave to her. The only one she can trust is Eoghan, but he seems to have forgotten all about her. It will be up to her to save the children. Karen Sandler has managed to create a unique world and filled it with even more unique characters that you can’t help but to cheer on page after page. Though the first few chapters got a bit tedious with necessary description and explanations, I found the story moved really well after that. I always like it when there is more than one character POV like in Tankborn, because when the narrator changes I’m always trying to read faster to know what happened. I was impressed how even being a YA book the plot explored issues of race, religion, and politics. The ending did break my heart but I liked that it left space for more of there is ever the opportunity. And I really hope so! *I received this book via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*