Subject A36 is the first book in Teri Polen’s new YA dystopian series, The Colony.
In this dystopian world, rich people live in ‘The Colony’ and harvest desirable genetic features from young children who live outside it. To fund this system, soldiers kidnap children with any striking features, such as hair and eye colour. But the insurgents are fighting back, attacking the labs to save the missing children. The story follows Asher Soloman, who at the start of the book is a young boy trying to flee from Colonist soldiers with his two sisters. From chapter 2, he is now 17 years old, and a lead Insurgent operative with his own team.
Subject A36 is short (about 200 pages) and is very fast-paced — I really enjoyed the story, as well as its strong main characters. It kept me hooked throughout, and there were no dull moments. The writing flows well and reads almost like a movie (not in a bad way!), and it feels very exciting. I felt how high the stakes were on the rescue missions, and that nothing was guaranteed.
Ash’s girlfriend, Brynn, is a really strong female character. The bond that she and Ash have feels really special. I particularly liked that there were a few times when Ash and Brynn’s brother, Noah, both try to stop her from going on missions incase she gets hurt — and of course both times, they get shut down straight away by Brynn. This is something that always comes up in fiction, so it was good to see it addressed so well! She can hold her own and doesn’t need their protection.
All the characters feel well fleshed out and well-written, with everyone having their own complaints and issues. For example, the team’s tech genius who hacks into the on-site security on missions is desperate to become a field operative, he feels frustrated at being left at the back each time. These touches really made the characters around Ash come to life and each felt realistic and plausible.
While most of the book is told from Ash’s POV, there are a few chapters told from other characters. I thought this worked well and gave us some extra insight into them and their motives (especially chapters told from the head of the lab). These chapters added a lot to the story and I enjoyed them.
The world feels very imaginative and believable, and I really enjoyed the story. All of the characters are well-written and fleshed out, and feel very realistic. Subject A36 packs a lot into its 200 pages, but it never feels rushed. It’s a great read and I am really excited to see what happens in the second book in the series, The Insurgent!
The blurb for Subject A36
If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?
Residents of the Colony would. And do.
Only the Insurgents can stop them.
Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.
He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.
Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.
Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.
About the author, Teri Polen
Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Her first novel, Sarah, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Subject A36 was voted one of the 50 Best Indie Books of 2020 at ReadFree.ly. Visit her online at www.teripolen.com