In Maureen McGowan’s suspenseful post-apocalyptic novel, 16-year-old Glory is dedicated to looking after her younger brother, Drake, in the city of Haven, a bleak, government-controlled place reminiscent of a cross between the domed arena and District 12 in The Hunger Games series. Since an asteroid caused the Earth to be enveloped in toxic dust that can mutate human DNA, the population has taken refuge inside the dome. To go outside means risking exposure to the toxin, or worse, to the Shredders – people who have been turned into sadistic monsters by the dust. When a character is callously thrown to the Shredders for not following the government’s rules, however, it becomes clear that protection may not be the dome’s primary purpose.
Glory survives by illegally hunting rats for food, but she also has a much larger secret: she is a Deviant, a mutant with the ability to hurt or kill just by locking eyes with another person. What’s more, her father was expunged from Haven three years earlier for being a Deviant and murdering her mother. When a mysterious Deviant named Burn shows up with unbelievable news about her father, Glory must decide if she can risk leaving Haven behind to protect Drake.
Although Glory has good reason to be careful, her distrustfulness of others becomes frustrating after a certain point. Her independence is admirable, but her inability to accept help often leads to bad decisions. The themes of Deviants – absent parents, a controlling government, a dangerous love triangle – are also not exactly groundbreaking.
However, fans of dystopian YA will likely be willing to take a chance on this fast-paced and dramatic story set in an engaging universe with room left to explore in the seemingly requisite sequel.