Ono is a bounty hunter, and he’s looking for members of Fesso’s Children in a run-down bar. Fesso is a warlord who’s building an army made of abandoned kids grow up into loyal thugs. She’s got a stranglehold on many of the villages near her, using fear tactics to make the townspeople complicit.
Fesso has managed to catch the attention of the Ints, creatures who control the Strand that infects all of Earth. The Strand is a nanotechnology that’s gone completely out of control, it’s infected most parts of the world in one way or the other. People can also take Strand into their bodies, or have body parts made completely out of Strand which creates super human abilities.
Two kids, Hunter and his sister Evie are from a group of people known as the Pure. The Pure want nothing to do with the Strand, they don’t interact with it, and they certainly don’t allow it into their bodies. They live apart from the rest of humanity, living off in the woods and being a fairly nomadic people. Evie and Hunter are separated from their group and are wandering around the woods lost until they meet up with Ono. Ono was out in the woods trying to track down Fesso’s Children, but ended up bumping into the kids instead. Ono discovers that the boy is badly injured and tries to help heal him, but it’s not enough.
Ono and the kids head north towards Bordertown, where Ono says he knows someone who can help the boy. The Seeker he takes them to can help, but not without a cost. Trina, the Seeker, has to use The Strand to help heal Ono, without it there’s no way to cure the infection, it had spread too deep.
Final Score: 12/15
Ono is sort of an outcast after he’s been dealing with a dual personality problem for the past 6 months leading up to present events. Ono himself is definitely not a stone cold killer of a bounty hunter, he tries to avoid violence if he can. However, he shares his mind with another named Aunio, who he tries to keep under wraps as best he can. Aunio is an entity that gains more and more power the more Ono uses his implants/strand – and Aunio is a pretty terrible person. If Ono isn’t careful, Aunio will completely take over and do terrible things that gets Ono into a lot of trouble. At the beginning of the book, Ono is confronted by a very angry man whose wife “he” slept with, but really it was Aunio. Aunio has also done something so terrible his wife and children won’t talk to him anymore, but he doesn’t know what it is that happened. There’s a constant struggle between these two throughout the book – and it’s Ono’s hope that if he can please the Ints by bringing in Fesso, that he will finally be rid of Aunio.
Evie is very determined, very loyal to her family, and devout in her faith of the Pure. She’s disgusted by the “Tainted” and refuses to make friends with them, even though several are helping her brother stay alive. She’s steadfast in her beliefs and all she wants to do is get back to her family and the Pure, and forget everything that’s happened so far.
Hunter is a curious kid, he’s nowhere near the steadfast persona of his sister. He’s much more easy going about the Strand and those that take it into their bodies as implants. Due to an injury, he ends up being stuck with Strand inside him, and he handles it much better than his sister. He also wants to learn the language of the Tainted, and learn more about the Strand and their priests.
Final Score: 12/15
This is very surreal and almost trippy like world, there’s oil all over the ground in some places creating an iridescent landscape, there’s a place called the Gridlands where the Strand has completely taken over and is a maze of tech and oil. Evie also takes some tea that makes her hallucinate and that was a really neat scene with her all out of sorts and arguing with herself during her trip.
The Strand can be used for basically anything since it’s nano tech, it adapts to what is needed or wanted, or does things completely on its own. You can help reinforce buildings, increase your eyesight, increase your strength etc.
The Strand can form itself into any number of shapes or monsters, including Giants, wolves, insect-like creatures etc.
The “Immersion” is a process some people experience when they are first introduced the The Strand into their bodies and it connects with their nervous system. What it does, is connect you to the world of Strand itself, and you can even communicate with the elusive Ints when you’re in the Immersion. The priests advise Hunter not to do this until he’s trained because the world of the Ints (The Anywhere) can be extremely dangerous – as Hunter finds out.
This is a very steampunky like world, there are things called Walkers which are 6 legged Strand creatures used to get around, Ono uses one frequently.
Final Score: 13.5/15
The way it’s written keeps the story moving along very quickly, it’s a straightforward writing style that lets the prose get out of the way of the story. Definitely not flowery or purple like prose.
I didn’t catch too many errors in the writing, just a few things here and there, all in all it was cleanly written.
Final Score: 11/15
The beginning starts out at a medium pace, you’re getting to know the world, but there’s a clear goal for the characters and action happens fairly quickly with Strand Giants and a bar brawl in the first couple chapters.
After the plot gets started things really pick up, and the middle and ending portions of the book are fast paced.
Final Score: 12/15
I can’t say I’ve read anything quite like this before, the world was completely unique, I thought the main character, Ono, was very different from other things I’ve read so far. The world building is really what makes this stand out for me though, the Anywhere was well done and completely surreal.
Final Score: 15/15
I’ve read a few sci fi books recently and it’s been a nice break from fantasy – I also really enjoyed this world and the characters. It was fresh and different and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Final Score: 8.5/10
- For people who like sci fi
- For people who like tech
- For people who like bounty hunter pov
- For people who like surreal type books
- For people who like futuristic books where modern times is considered ancient
- For people who like multi pov
- For people who like dual personalities/split personalities
- For people who like fast paced books
Final Score: 84/100