Abby and the other Lessers in her small village rush to bring in the apple harvest for shipment to the Greaters in their vast, advanced cities. At the end of the harvest the village’s betrothed couples will wed in a group ceremony. Abby’s best friend Kyan will stand among them with his wife-to-be. The village leader’s son tries to bully Abby into marrying him, but she refuses, captivated instead by a handsome stranger who is more than he seems. Abby soon discovers dangerous secrets swirling beneath the surface of her simple life. Secrets that change who she is and whom she can trust.
The story contains an interesting dystopian landscape with sharp divides between the powerful rich and subservient poor. Abby and Kyan’s relationship is sweet, though she is a little dense about his feelings for her. When Crew arrives to help with the apple harvest, Abby is nearly swept off her feet. His character seems less developed than some of the others. In the latter portion of the tale, he becomes much more erratic and fragmented. Despite the fact that Crew appears to be a major hunk, I couldn’t help rooting for Kyan, who remains steadfast and loyal to Abby.
The story itself spirals into something of a confusing end. The last two chapters yank the story in a different direction and left me confused. It’s clear another novel is meant to follow this one, and the author may clarify the ending in that next book.
Throughout the novel Abby remains a strong heroine willing to fight for what she wants, seeking love but not helpless without it. Fans of Bond’s earlier novel Winter Shadows will notice similarities in the core characters of each story, but the settings are very different. Dystopian fiction fans may enjoy this novel for its themes and setting.
A girl is whipped for contradicting those in command and protecting a child. A man threatens and tries to take advantage of a girl.