Published by Cinnabar Press on Dec 6, 2012
Genres: Mystery, Science Fiction
Format: eBook from Free Download
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Zane swore as a child to someday protect all of the odd people in the world. He studied chameleons and muscle groups as he taught himself to alter his own appearance, and it turned out that skills for blending were very helpful to a young boy too smart and too different to fit in well.
But as an adult, things have changed. Zane finds that he now just wants to be himself. He gets a degree in neuroscience to understand abilities that even he recognizes as astonishing. Worst of all, he is fast discovering that everyone is odd. He hadn’t counted on that.
When he lands in the sales department of Penthes Pharmaceuticals, he begins to uncover layers of corporate secrets that ultimately will hide surprisingly vile plans. Sent on a sales boondoggle to the South Pacific, he finds others with talents as surprising as his own and with problems far worse. As his new friends flee the malicious schemes of those who would control them, Zane wants to help. Their freedom-loving philosophy of y1 calls to him.
But first, he must deal with a murder charge. And an unsavory boot camp manager. And serious repercussions from the fact that not everyone at Penthes likes him, or wants him to knows the mysteries that the company has worked so hard to keep hidden.
Can he help them all? Can he even help himself? Fantasy, reality and a bit of speculative science come together as Zane uses all the unique abilities he has to resist turning from a murder suspect into a murder victim. Then he has to sort out just how to keep that childhood promise.
This was an intriguing book that happened to teach me a little bit of knowledge on a lot of varied subjects, all while focusing on an exciting plot and enthralling characters. I’d never have believed that a book could take a murder mystery, a missing person mystery, paranormal abilities, fire dancing, pharmaceuticals, South Pacific geography and history, and meritocracy teachings and turn it into one cohesive story. Yet this book managed it.
I loved how all the various elements played into each other in a smooth and believable manner, yet there was very little info dumping. Instead, the learnings where pieced out in appropriately small bits during the applicable parts in the story. This was truly a globe-spanning tale.
The characters were quite an intriguing mix. Zane was an incredibly talented and morale-guided young man. Toby was a mysterious yet helpful father-figure. Afi was sweet, and I wanted every happiness for him. Joy was incredibly strong, and so supportive. All the secondary characters, and even the bad guys, were also well developed and a delight to encounter.
Overall, this was a story that took me completely by surprise because while I expected to like it, I ended up loving it. There is so much in the story, yet it never gets confusing or overwhelming. I picked up this story during a free download special, and I definitely regret not picking up the other books in the series at the same time. Speaking of which, this may be the second book in the series, but it is a completely stand alone story, which is always great to find.