Evan Angler’s premiere novel is centered around Logan Langly, a paranoid 12-year-old who suffers from the loss of his older sister five years prior. Lily, Logan’s sister, was lost during the Marking process, in which 13-year-olds receive the Mark which allows them to get jobs, make purchases, and use public transportation. Without it, citizens must rely on others who are Marked. Undoubtedly, this is a dystopian book. While the series itself is considered Christian fiction, readers won’t get anything more than subtle Christian themes with this book, many, if not all, of which may be interpreted in different ways.
Despite Logan’s age, he makes a good protagonist for readers of many ages. He’s very mature for his age, as are other characters in this book. His paranoia isn’t unjustified either. He has, in fact, been watched in the years since his sister’s death, although the reason isn’t what the reader might expect. His family, minus the grandmother, are happily oblivious to the wrongdoings of the government. Those that question the government’s actions are those that are or involved with the Unmarked.
Character development is most prominent in Logan, though there is some character development seen in a few of the secondary characters, as well. Logan becomes braver, and he realizes how wrong the government is, especially about the Mark. Logan grows up quite a lot in this book. The character development is the same for the secondary characters, but, again, not as noticeable as Logan’s transformation.
The book’s setting takes place in Spokie, American Union, or, as it is referred to as in the series, the A.U. Spokie is a small town on the on the outskirts of New Chicago, which is one of the three remaining super cities in the A.U. The fact that it is a rather small town makes the plot, and the way that it is played out, much more believable.
An interesting aspect of this book is the way that the architecture has evolved in this dystopian era. It is described as buildings being tall and thin, with one room being built on top of another. That would mean that the living room would be on floor one, the kitchen on floor two, the parent’s bedroom on floor three, and so on. Some buildings, such as Spokie Middle School, are built underground.
I was happy with the ending of the book. It left off with Logan finding a new, and extremely important, goal to pursue. However, while the ending did give room for a sequel to spawn, it was not a cliffhanger. This could be because one of the most climatic moments in the book actually took place a few chapters before the end of the novel, and everything had sunk in by then. I’m not complaining with this aspect of it, either. It’s nice to read a book with an ending that doesn’t drive you crazy.
If you’re wondering whether or not this book would be a good read for college students, since it is aimed for a younger audience, it depends on what type of books you read, and their content. If you read something with a lot of romance or a lot of gore, or anything in between, then you may not be satisfied with the toned-down characteristics of this book. Also, this book tends to be read very quickly, but not because things are written in a plain manner. It’s because Angler focuses more on what is happening, rather than the way it is happening.