The Bolvar Union provides everything a good citizen needs, only asking one thing in return: total devotion to the State. Teenage best friends Adan Testa and Bo Shen have other ideas. They plan an unlikely heist to earn their way over the wall, escaping Bolvar before serving their mandatory five years in the Bolvar Union Defense Force. But Adan doesn’t know he possesses a secret talent that no one has seen in the five centuries since the First Explorers colonized Neska. And when the Union discovers Adan’s hidden gift, they’ll do anything and everything they can to discover his secret. Even if it kills him.
Fans of Alex London’s Proxy or M.R. Carey’s Ramparts Trilogy won’t want to miss this engaging and inclusive sci-fi dystopian thriller.
Founder’s Mercy was such a fun read! I loved the concept of the dystopian future on the backdrop of past colonists to the planet with varying results. The alternating chapters switching between of the present day and the captain’s log from the first settlers of the planet made for an interesting read. Especially when I made connections between the information being revealed in the logs and the events of the novel’s chapters.
While the plot was gripping and exciting, I think my favourite thing about this novel were the characters. I loved following Adan and Bo in their bid to escape their constrictive lives under the thumb of ‘The Union’. A body of government that claims to have their citizen’s best interests at their focus, but it doesn’t always seem that way. The friendship between these two main characters was wonderful to read amongst the dark backdrop if the setting. The friendship itself was so genuine and caring. The other main supporting characters were all so interesting to read, and I loved learning more about them all and following their crazy journey.
There were some little things I found with this novel that I had a small issue with. These were things that didn’t take away from the plot too much but were noticeable to me as a fellow writer. I didn’t feel they affected the narrative voice much, but without them would have enhanced the work. I also found the romances to be a little rushed – they seemed to develop very quickly. I know this can happen (I’m not that cold hearted). I just felt that a little more time (timeline time) spent with the romances might have made them more believable to be. Don’t get me wrong, the relationships were sweet, and I am totally onboard and emotionally invested. No turning back now!
Something I really loved was the casual inclusion of pronouns within the character’s conversations when they introduced themselves. I also loved how Adan would use neutral pronouns for people he met until he knew for sure. This is something I would love to see more of in other novels.
Overall, I love how much fun this novel was to read. It had a high stakes plot, secrets and lies everywhere you look, and some exciting scenes to read. The romances were really sweet, and I loved all the characters and their depth. I recommend this for those who enjoy dystopian sci-fi with strong plotting and some really fun characters.
Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for sending me this free eARC (eAdvanced Reader Copy). I am leaving this review voluntarily. This title was published 22nd March 2022.