Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

The Basics:
The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian
Book One in the Chaos Theory Series
New Adult, Science Fiction
Published March 18, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon.ca Kobo.com

Why I picked up this book:

The blurb intrigued me with the mix of criminal and love.


Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

My thoughts:

The Wicked We Have Done was a brutal story of guilt, intent, friendship, love, the justice system. 

The Compass Room, the key mechanic at the core of this book, is designed to test whether a person is morally evil or good, and therefore whether they are a threat to society or not. It also executes anyone on the evil side of the spectrum, removing the need to house and feed them indefinitely. 

The Room is a brutally harsh testing system. It boggled my mind that this could be approved for use in any way without complete transparency and how on earth could anyone think that this combination of psychological and physical torture was a good call?  Humane doesn't begin to enter the picture.

Then again, we're talking about, theoretically, the worst of society - people who have been convicted of murder, of serial rape and who are generally not people we feel warm fuzzies for. Ultimately, I was willing to give the book a pass on the compass room's existence, but yeah... yeah. 

Evalyn Ibarra is a very damaged young woman. Her crime is an act of terrorism, and the details of it are spun out in chapters spread across the present day. I appreciated the slow reveal - it felt appropriate as the present day plot gradually peeled back everyone's defenses and revealed their stories as well.

Casey was enjoyable, definitely damaged, and I think I would have liked to spend more time getting ot know him and his perspective.

Comparisons to The Hunger Games are inevitable, I think. The isolation of young people, forced to undergo these brutal trials, and the pushback against the Compass Room all lends itself to comparison. I think The Wicked We Have Done stands well on its own merits, though the brutality of the compass Room dragged on me. It'll be interesting to see how the series fares through the next book (which is where The Hunger Games lost me :P )

Bottom line:

Violent and emotionally mature, I don't think The Wicked We Have Done is for every reader, but I think there's a lot here to enjoy or appreciate. Recommend but with a warning about the violence.

4 stars
For fans of The Hunger Games, New Adult, violent survival tales, emotional stories

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