Published by Berkley Trade on July 2nd 2013
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After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.
Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.
When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.
Clover is now possibly one of my favorite characters. Being autistic, she struggles with the aftermath of a virus that was luckily cured quickly thanks to the possibility of time travel. Her other brother West is her caretaker, since their father is too wrapped up in his work and grief from losing his wife years ago. In fact, he killed her out of mercy just before the cure was distributed. When Clover thinks she is accepted into the Academy, she is sent to become a Messenger, traveling two years in the future to gather information.
What she finds out is that her brother is in trouble and suddenly they are questioning the system they have grown up knowing. Doubt spreads and Clover finds an ally in Jude, a boy who she briefly met before becoming a Messenger and while in the future. I love how the author curled the future and past together. I'd love an explanation for why they can only travel two years into the future, which will hopefully come in the next book. This one left off with a lot yet to be explained and explored and I cannot wait to see what faces Clover next.
Jude is a character that has grown on me and hopefully will continue to. I cannot wait to see how Clover and Jude become involved as they are both strong characters. West also has a budding relationship and I cannot wait to see where that goes as well. The bad guys in the novel set out for the right purposes and were pushed by keeping the world peaceful after curing the virus. It's interesting to see the path to corruption and how it often starts with good intentions.
Final Verdict: Overall, I loved this novel. It had great aspects of time travel, post-virus environment and a budding dystopian novel as a few try to control the many. The characters are interesting and realistic, giving pause to the story and where it could go from this point. I'm definitely looking forward to the next one.