Book: The Rules
Author: Stacey Kade
Source: ARC borrowed from a friend
Ariane lives by the rules. 1. Never trust anyone. 2. Remember they are always searching. 3. Don’t get involved. 4. Keep your head down. 5. Don’t fall in love.
They’re all that stands between her and discovery. If anyone learned that she was different in any way, the evil GTX corporation would recapture her and drag her back into the bowels of their research division. Yes, recapture. Because Ariane lived the first six years of her life like a mouse in a maze, showing GTX what she could do. And why was what she could so much more special than any other child?
Because she’s not fully human.
Built of human and alien DNA to be GTX’s pet assassin, she was freed at age six by the man who now calls himself her father, and it’s his rules she lives by. She never thought Rule 5 would be a problem - Don’t fall in love - until she starts to get involved with Zane. Popular Zane. Gorgeous Zane. Sweet, gentle, fascinating Zane. The son of the local sheriff, who wants more than anything to get in good at GTX.
This . . . might be a problem.
Like her prior Ghost and the Goth series, this is written in a dual POV, something that’s happening a lot in YA lately. Often, I don’t really know why. In this book, it pretty much works, because Zane and Ariane have very different viewpoints of GTX, but also of their friends, schoolmates, and obviously, each other. Ariane doesn’t trust Zane (for good reason, because his friend Rachel is as mean as a snake). Zane is fascinated by the formerly mousy Ariane’s buried strength, as well as being very concerned about her home life. Seeing the way that their views gradually change was one of the things that kept pulling me through this novel.
There are some things that don’t hold up. For instance, how is it that this girl lived 10 years in the same town with GTX, with her father working for them, and never once thought, “You know, this isn’t the smartest place for me to be.” There’s a spoileriffic reason for that situation, but her unquestioning acceptance of it is what makes me do the simple-dog head-tilt. Plus, Ariane is very delicate, bruising and breaking bones easily, which is part of the reason Zane becomes convinced she’s being abused. How does that work for an assassin, even if she can kill people with her brain?
Overall, however, I liked this book. I’m told (by Goodreads, and if we can’t depend on that, then who can we depend on?) that this is the first in a series. I feel as if it could have just as well been a standalone, but I’ll try out the next one.