Published by Crescent Moon Press on July 21st 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Thrillers, Young Adult
eBook provided by Dark World Books
Donna’s always been one step ahead of the game, but the last person she expects to fall for is the first suspect in a line of killings at a school for superhuman teens. 16 The deciding age of contamination.
30 The number of coin flips it takes to prove that Donna may have subconsciously used her genetically enhanced abilities to excel in school.
24 The number of hours Donna has to board a train to the Institute for Extraordinary Children.
14 The flights of stairs she must climb to get to her room.
700 The number of pages in the rule book that will determine how she eats, sleeps, and … well … smells for the remainder of the school year.
2 The number of members in her squad. Good thing Dan’s there to help get her abilities in shape and avoid Donna’s worst fear—humiliation. Her abilities skyrocket. Until the day she learns exactly what Dan is capable of.
1 The number of bodies that turn up dead.
0 Her chances of getting out alive.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of this story. The Executioner at the Institute for Contaminated Children (sheesh, that is a long title) is basically a bunch of kids with abilities trying to survive in a school/system that is trying to change them into something else or kill them. This is different than anything I have read before, that’s for sure.
There was a contamination about 20 years ago. A plant exploded and a lot of people were effected. The contamination doesn’t show up until they have children, and the children show certain abilities. Society calls them contaminated. The contamination shows up around age 16 and all children who show signs are then sent to one of the schools for such children. Also, their passports are stamped with a big red C, alerting officials tat they are not allowed to leave the country. It wouldn’t be so bad except that some of the schools have been blown up. Terrorists have started to target the schools, so being sent to one is almost a death sentence. Donna has just been diagnosed with contamination, and she is sent to a local school for contaminated children.
Donna was a smart character. She has the ability to predict things in games of chance. Given a multiple choice question, she will always choose right. This is what gets her discovered. Donna does the right thing almost against her own will. She is an advocate for the mistreated. At the school, she is tested over and over and she is able to learn more about her abilities. The school is designed so that these kids learn to work around the rules. The rules are laid out in a book about 700 pages long and they learn quickly that they must adapt if the want to earn privileges or even eat at this school. Earn points or go hungry, how motivating. All of the kids in this school are cool and frightening. Their abilities are so useful, they are scary. By the middle of the story, I could guess that most, if not all, of them ended up working for the government. They had too much to offer as spy and/or intelligence officers to just be set free.
The executioner in this tale is surprising. The end of this book had so many surprises. I did not see that coming. Then ending left a bit to the imagination, but still tied up all the loose ends enough for me to feel sated. There were a few deaths, a few lies and cover-ups, and of course a hint of romance. This tale had a bit of everything making it a good paranormal thriller, while staying in the confines of YA appropriateness.
I liked and was frustrated with this book. While the story was really enthralling, I kept loosing my place. The story is written in first person, and some chapters switched people without notice, not mid chapter mind you but, I kept loosing my place. I thought maybe it was every other chapter devoted to Donna, but no. Some of her first person account took up a few chapters subsequently, and then the next (or opposite) character would be first person. It made me stop and orient myself to the character telling the story each chapter. The other key players in this story had very different viewpoints, but it still took me a bit to figure it out. I mostly listened to this on text-to-speech and I was shocked and needed to hear some parts over and over so I could follow along. The last few chapters had my undivided attention and it ended well. Beside the chapter character switches, I have no complaints about this book. There was a bit of mystery, and suspense along with teenage angst making this a pretty solid tale. Unfortunately, the chapter person switches pissed me off enough to make me rate this at a 4 at most. It really irked me not to know whose head I was in at each chapter start.
About the Author
Margaret E. Alexander grew up in Miami, FL. Ten years of frizz and hurricanes chased her away to sunny San Diego, CA. While in college, studying biomedical engineering didn’t stop her from pumping out novel drafts every year. She found her escape in storytelling and others like her who sometimes preferred the world of fiction to the real one. The Executioner at the Institute for Contaminated Children is her first YA novel with Crescent Moon Press. She loves blogging about thrillers with young protagonists and is putting her art minor to good use with a graphic novel project on the side. Her wandering focus is the fault of her cat.
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