Matteo Alacran knows he is different than other humans though he doesn't understand why this gives others cause to despise him and treat him as a monster. He knows he is a genetic copy of the greatly feared El Patron, lord of a giant opium operation, so powerful it is in fact it's own country, but Matt does not exactly know what this means for him or his future. With very few people Matt can trust, he must find a way to keep his friends close, but his enemies closer.
The world Matt grows up in is both beautiful and wretched, and he experiences it in a singularly unique way. A world in which, though he is gifted with the finest of things, he is often deeply lonely, and always a prisoner. Escaping Opium proves as difficult as remaining, and very nearly as life threatening. Matt is confronted with many moral dilemmas that leave him questioning everything he thinks he knows, most importantly who he really is or can be.
One of the more realistic dystopian novels I have read, this book brings up so many of the controversies of ethics and consequences of scientific advancement that revolve around the ugly truth of money speaking louder than laws.
I found the plot and setting intriguing. There were elements that made me disgusted by their nearness to reality, and others that tugged at my emotions in the cause of justice. A slower paced read, heavy on human connections and internal struggles, there is still a good amount of action. The story is neither stale nor boring, but some parts did feel a little long. The characters were interesting contrasts in human nature. From the cruel, to the indifferent, to the kindhearted, we get a glimpse especially of the darker side of humanity with this cast.
A poignant novel that I will not soon forget.
I recieved my copy of this title through a free little library exchange and chose to review it on my own. All thoughts and opinions contained in this post are entirely my own.
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