Revive by Tracey Martin
Book #1 in Redzone
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Thriller
Publication Date: May 19th 2015
ARC Provided by Author and Samhain Publishing
Christal’s Review – 3.5 Skulls – B-
Revive might feel a little familiar to long-time science fiction readers, but Tracey Martin executed the story in such an exciting way that I definitely feel it was a worthwhile read. It’s really hard to review this book because it works best if you go in knowing very little about it, but I’m going to try to avoid spoilers as much as possible.
Revive begins with Sophia Hernandez in the bathroom of a train station. She doesn’t know where she is, what’s she’s doing, who she’s with, or even who she is. She tries searching through the backpack she is wearing for clues, but finds very little of importance. All she can do is venture out into the train station and hope she remembers something. She has a feeling of dread, like something bad is after her, but she can’t remember why. When Kyle, apparently her friend and fellow student, finally finds her, Sophia begins to remember small details and realizes she is on the run… but from whom or why, she still can’t remember. All she knows is that she has a little voice in her head screaming for her to run and to never trust anyone. Her heart tells her Kyle is sincere though… shouldn’t she trust him?
The back copy for Revive kind of ruins one of the big secrets from the book — that Sophia isn’t a normal human — but as she begins to get her memories back, we start to see just how different Sophia really is. Outwardly, Sophia is a smart, attractive young woman who seems to have an innate fighting ability. We learn her secrets at the same time Sophia does as her memory comes back in disjointed pieces. We learn about her recent experiences as a college student, her relationship with Kyle, and her past upbringing and just why she has a “certain set of skills.” We also move forward in the current timeline to see how all the events play out from the train station onward. The time shifts could be a little confusing from time to time, but were used well overall.
The book begins as more of a spy thriller with secrets and lies and espionage coming fast and furious. Not only are we learning about the mystery of Sophia, we are also learning just why she was at that college and why she met Kyle. Like I said, lots of mysteries and spy stuff. As we transition into the current timeline, the book shifts into a more concrete science fiction focus. This is not what I would call hard SF, but there are a lot of cybertech and bioengineering elements running throughout. Here we meet more characters that have an influence on Sophia’s life and we finally learn all the truths regarding who she is and why Kyle is important. The final act of Revive morphs into an action-packed escape and we have explosions and fighting and hacking galore. Everything flows very well together, though, and you always know you are reading the same book. The hints to the overall plot are buried throughout and sometimes you will read one scene that makes you realize why it was important to have read a previous scene. Nothing goes to waste.
I enjoyed the characters of Kyle and Sophia, but I am really interested to learn more about some of the side characters. Not naming any names, but we do go on to find out Sophia has a family of sorts and I am really intrigued by a few of her siblings. Because of the pace of the book, several characters are introduced but there just isn’t time to fully flesh them out. I am hoping that future books in the series give Ms. Martin more time to create distinct characters voices. I would have liked to learn a little bit more about Kyle’s background as well, but I feel like that will be addressed in the next book. Revive had an almost daunting amount to tackle in terms of setting up the world, explaining Sophia’s place in it, and then tearing everything down, but it never felt rushed. The pacing was pretty spot on actually, with just a few instances where I felt the scenes dragged somewhat.
Revive was a very solid series debut and I am eager to see where the story goes from here. While I wouldn’t say this ends on a cliffhanger, it definitely leaves open multiple possibilities. While Revive‘s characters fit pretty comfortably in the “new adult” age range, I think the content was appropriate for middle school readers and beyond; I recommend it for YA readers in general. The language and romance were pretty clean, but there were some (very intriguing) conspiracy elements that might be harder for younger readers to follow. Overall though, an exciting, fast-paced read!
Thank you to Tracey Martin and Samhain Publishing for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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