Seventeen year-old Carrington Hale is at the top of her class, a sure pick for some lucky man on her day of Choosing. Only, no one chooses her. Devastated and forced to leave her family behind, Carrington joins the masses of other unworthy, unchosen girls to serve as Lints, laborers whose only value lies in completing the menial tasks assigned to them.
Authorities are troubled by the murder of several Lint workers. The brutal killer must be stopped before he undermines the Authority of the Law and upsets the people. To reassure the people, when widowed leader Isaac makes the unorthodox request to choose a second bride, the ruling leaders ask him to choose a girl from among the Lints. And Carrington realizes this may be the second chance she’s been hoping for.
I liked that this wasn’t strictly a dystopian story. It definitely had all the elements of one, but it’s also the story of the pursuit of a serial killer. I’ve never seen a mash-up of those two genres before, and I think it really worked.
That said, I’m super squeamish to violence, particularly anything sexual or creepy, so this was not an easy read for me. If you have similar sensitivities or abuse history, consider this a trigger warning. You might want to steer clear of this one. The details are limited to a few scenes, but it definitely creeped me out.
I enjoyed Carrington and Remko’s characters a lot, though. She’s a great strong yet sensitive heroine. Remko definitely fits that strong silent type, so he definitely had me won over. I loved the banter between him and his friend Helms.
Since this is a Tyndale book, I expected a strong spiritual element, and there definitely is one. I felt like the story was a bit all humans are good, it’s the system that tries to tell you otherwise. I didn’t think it translated well to Christian doctrine. That said, often Christian fantasy follows the thread of a Creator God and leaves out the Jesus elements of the faith, so maybe I’m being too strict in my interpretation. But that was my opinion. For more on that, see the Spiritual Content section below.
Carrington’s people believe a sort of perverted version of the Bible, handed down to them by a historical leader. According to the rules, women are unworthy second-class citizens to be helpers and laborers. A spiritual revolutionary named Aaron challenges the ideas of the current leadership, telling his followers, you are blameless, perfect, worthy.
The twisted version of scripture used by leadership to control the populace reminded me a little bit of the book used by leadership in Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I found Aaron’s teaching to be really more Unitarian than strictly Christian, if that makes sense. I felt like the idea that we are blameless and perfect sort of flies in the face of the Christian doctrine that it’s only by Jesus’ sacrifice that we are found blameless.
Violent Content and Trigger Warning
An assassin slashes the throat of a guard before killing himself.
A man at first woes his potential bride with kindness, but soon turns to threats and abuse.
A serial killer has been killing women laborers using bleach internally and externally. Some scenes feature the killer with a bound victim who begs for help.