It took me a while to even wrap my mind around the idea of not having the full spectrum of emotions at my disposal. The main character in this book, Rom, was having the exact opposite struggle. We were on opposite sides of a looking glass. There is an line in the very beginning that expresses my point. “That archaic word passion, for example. Try as he might to grasp this thing, he could only conjure up thoughts of varying degrees of fear.” The moment I read the word passion, movie images, lyrics to songs and my own personal thoughts burst into my consciousness. You see, in this book the only emotion that was genetically allowed was fear. In order to purify humanity of war, murder and other negative results of passionate emotions, they were eliminated through genetics.

I imagined the setting to be clean, sterile and dull. This is a world where things are done because they have the skill to do them, not because they are driven by a passion for it. As you begin to read about the character Rom, you begin to desire more for him. He had a full life, but it lacked the enjoyment and passion that would make what he did more fulfilling. Another character who was also living her life free from ‘extreme emotions’ was a lady of royalty, named Feyn. Her life was desirable even though you knew she was in the same predicament as the other character. The position she held was powerful. You could see how those at her status valued ‘fear’. Fear manufactured the perfect slaves. The ‘order’ that came from this ‘fear’ resulted in absolute power. So now the reader has a decision to make. In my mind it was should you suppress passionate emotions so that everyone could live a predictable, tame, (lame) life or; for the good of all humanity, allow them to live with all of their emotions and passions. Give them the challenge of taming their emotions and using them to find wholeness and discover deeper mysteries.

Rom’s world changes when a vile of forbidden blood, along with some coded writing, is thrust into his hands by a creepy old man. Rom’s life explodes with color and passion, and it over flows into his relationships. Now I don’t think people should take drugs but introducing passion back into the human blood stream seemed to take him on a trip; a trip humanity had seemed to have forgotten about. This life giving blood threatens to bring chaos, disrupt order; but who’s order? Is it really chaos or could it be a time of awakening to move by free will and find life? The choice is not to hard for me when I was in Rom’s shoes, but lady Feyn. Why would a woman destined to rule give up this predictable structure, or order, just for a short time of emotional bliss?

This story makes you wonder if you are taking some things for granted, and if your emotions were meant to lead you to something greater. I highly recommend this book, which is the beginning of a series. You will discover much more than a thrilling ending.

–Kim S. J.

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