The Colony Series Book One
by Teri Polen
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 13 Feb 2020 | Archive Date 30 Mar 2020
Residents of the Colony would. And do.
Only the Insurgents can stop them.
Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.
He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.
Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.
Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.
A Note From the Publisher
Average rating from 26 members
Ash has spent years fighting against the Colony, the ruling class, who steal second class citizens with desirable genetic traits. A secret buried in his past will upend his world and send him spinning into the hands of the Colony. I have to warn you first of all, the blurb is not exactly accurate, so don't expect it to be. I enjoyed this read, but it's not amazing. It's almost like a book of two halves; the first part is a standard resist-the-evil-with-an-attractive-group-of-teens story, and the second half becomes something else that I won't spoil, but you can probably see coming if you read this type of story at all. It's an enjoyable read, with quick action scenes and good character building; I liked Paige the best, but everyone was good. The central conflict, however, doesn't make sense to me. I'm not any kind of medical professional, but I'm pretty sure you don't need to kill someone to take part of their genetic code; you can get DNA from blood, after all, and you wouldn't need much. If they were physically taking organs and so on, it would make much more sense to me. But if you can ignore that, this is a great, action packed read and I recommend it to everyone.
Subject A36 by Teri Polen is the first book in The Colony series. Asher and his family live in a dystopic world where human beings who do not belong to the Colony are hunted down and 'harvested' for their desirable DNA traits. The excuse for this inhumane treatment is that it controls the population (a necessary concern when disease has been pretty much eradicated, leading to longer lifespans). Asher and his adoptive family are part of the Insurgents, who work to free prisoners before they can have their DNA stripped. When accidental transfer leaves behind genetic material from Ash, the Colony begins hunting him in earnest. For Asher Solomon is more than he ever knew, far more valuable than those gathered for 'harvesting'. First off, dang! I love dystopias, and this was no exception. For some reason, it hit me even harder than say, Hunger Games, or others. I think it's because we are still relatively close in time to the Holocaust, where people were gathered together to be slain, and many died in genetics experiments. With certain people and groups in positions of power, and other groups of people threatened with greater marginalisation, this just feels frighteningly plausible. Well, the gathering and imprisonment of certain groups anyway. The gene-stripping confused me. Our cells contain our entire DNA blueprint. DNA can be gleaned by blood drawn from a donor, with no need to kill them. I would have liked more exploration of this process, and the process to implant harvested genes into recipients. I'm having a hard time imagining how it might feasibly work. I really liked all of the main characters. Ash and Noah were my favourites. The loyalty between the two adoptive brothers warms my heart. And Brynn! She's so fierce. I imagine she could put Subject A36 in his place quite easily, no matter what the genetic enhancements. I also get easily attached to the genetically enhanced thanks to Khan Noonien Singh and Julian Bashir. And now I've dated myself 🤣 Some things felt very repetitive though, like Ash mentioning several times that rescued children taken to Insurgent facilities may be adopted by others or form their own families if theirs couldn't be located. Also, how he didn't want to see Oz hurt because his interest in Paige wasn't reciprocated. I got it after the second and third mentions. I didn't need to read it several times more. It's something that could be removed to tighten the story. I feel it would have flowed better removing the chapters not from Asher's POV. Those few scattered chapters felt like unnecessary over-explaining of things that might work better more succinctly woven into Asher's POV as showing, or as a dialogue exchange. Overall, I did enjoy the story and look forward to seeing the author grow as a writer, and where this story goes. ***Many thanks to the Netgalley & Black Rose Writing for providing an egalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Reviewed for R&R Blog Tours
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. Subject A36 is the first book of The colony series, written by Teri Polen. Asher is a member of the Insurgents, that fights against the Colony, that, through genetic engeneering, is able to extract attractive genetic features from people bodies and implant them in paying ones. Asher lost a lot in his past and he's ready to continue fighting, rescuing hostages, saving people from the Colony'clutches and when the Insurgents discover that the colony is looking for subject A36 they decided to risk everything to try to win this war. Subject A36 is full of action, mysteries and plot twists. The whole idea of attractive genetic traits that could be stripped from pèople was chilling and it was disturbing reading how someone could go to the great lenghs to achieve something like beauty or a better body. In this book we can see the conflicts between Insurgents and the colony and the inhuman treatments, beween rich people and those more unfortunate and so exploited, between money and morals, right and wrong. The book is set in a dystopian world, full of interesting characters. Above all I liked Asher, Noam and Brynn. They are great and I love their relationship. I was a bit confused about the scientific part, to be honest, because gather DNA doesn't put people at risk or kill them, but I guess it was written this way to underline the Colony's cruelty and their inhuman treatments. Overall Subject A36, even though it was a bit slow in some parts, it's really good. The plot was interesting and captivating, the characters (Asher is amazing!) very enjoyable and I liked the writing style, too.
While the beginning of Subject A36 was a bit slow, it was still enjoyable because of the backstory and the introduction of some of the characters and their feelings and actions. And while the premise isn't that new to dystopian YA, it's the characters and how they think about their situation that makes the story great. I really loved the strong bond between Asher and Brynn. For me, strong, calm Noah, Brynn's brother, stole the show in some scenes. And the cliffhanger makes me longing for the second book. Overall, I think that while Teri Polen has not written a big game changer of YA dystopian fiction, she wrote a wonderful story full of hope, loss, trauma, cruelty, strong bonds and cinematic action scenes. I truly enjoyed this book and am excited for the next. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this eARC. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.** This is the first book in 'The colony' Series, it is set in a dystopian world, where humans who do not belong to a colony are hunted down for their genetic material, specifically highly valued DNA traits. As all dystopian worlds that have some ghastly killing regime, there is 'justification' for it, in this world, it is because humans have a uch longer life span, no disease and there needs to be a way to have 'population control', culling for DNA is 'The Colony's' answer to this problem. I do love a dystopian novel, it is always interesting to see how each author faces the challenge of 'the world has ended, explain how and how that has effected the human race'. Teri Polen attacks this problem by explaining that humans have far exceeded their natural life span, disease has been eradicated but human population control has taken a somewhat sinister twist. Like many dystopian novels we are following teenagers in an adult world, specifically Asher and Brynn and it is really nice to see their relationship evolve, seeing them help each other and Noah was another highlight of a character! I was slightly confused by how DNA could be stripped and be used, I feel like this is a part of the novel that could've been fleshed out a bit more, some of the story was a bit repetitive, I don't know if this was to reinforce a characters morals or choices but I, personally, felt it could've been left out. Overall I enjoyed reading about the main characters and their journey, the relationships that are built and formed are very poignant in this story, which was nice to follow. The story did take a bit to get started, but once it did, it was an enjoyable read.
Subject A36 is set in a dystopian world where desirable genetic traits are stripped from people, without their consent and resulting in their deaths... I found this to be a surprisingly compelling read. The plot skipped along quickly, and I really liked the whole premise of gene stripping. There were a lot of integrated flashbacks which worked really well to give context without feeling like they were holding the story up at all. The protagonist, Ash, is a strong lead with a good level of vulnerability and compassion that make him easy to relate to. And it was refreshing to have a male MC, something that is somewhat rare in YA novels. I loved the cast of supporting characters though too, especially where we were given enough background to really come to understand them. This review has been posted to Amazon and Goodreads.
Wow! What a great read! The characters are well-developed, the plot is intriguing and the writing flows well! Asher is an engaging main character who deals with heartbreak, dangerous circumstances and demonstrates loyalty as well as determination. His journey is fraught with obstacles that he overcomes, but can be overcome the threat to his loved ones or will it be his undoing? The story continues after this book ends and I cannot wait to read the sequel to this book!
I have been testing the waters with different dystopian books in the past couple of years. Each brings something different to the table. The strongest foundation of a dystopian situation for me (I have come to realise) is if the plot based on current trends and some facts related to those trends. In the world we are to enter gene modification for health has extended itself to something a lot more superficial. The explanations are part of the narrative, so I will refrain from revealing anything further. We have viewpoints of many people in the story, both good and bad but our main voice is Asher. He is the boy/man of the moment, he lives with insurgents who regularly try to prevent 'The Colony' from abducting more people for their nefarious purposes. I have to admit the secret reveal was pretty evident from the beginning, given the numerous hints we are provided but the writing was good, and I was caught up with the people enough to want the best for them regardless. One reveal did take me by surprise, and it did add a whole other layer to the story. There is a lot of descriptions of the emotional bonds between people and how they function. It is a very vivid portrayal and gives the necessary depth to (still) teenagers who had to grow up before their time. This was one of those books where the age and the actions of the people did not bother me much given the hardships of the world they live in. With regards to the world-building itself, we are given the barest of glimpses. The rest is hopefully to be revealed in the following books. The glimpses we are given only show us how the scientific side is assembled and their priorities but not the Government and what that might look like. The ending is a cliffhanger, and that is an important thing to note for those who may not like such a state without the next instalment in hand. I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based solely on my own reading experience.
Subject A36 generally stayed within the boundaries laid out by the YA dystopian before it - a society split among the haves and the have-nots, atrocities committed by the haves (justifiable in their view), a teenager who is "special" in some way with a group of compatriots who work to overthrow/defeat the haves. The plot moved fairly predictably, with the characters growing to understand their situations, leading to an expected cliffhanger. The writing was good, with characters having their own voices and word choice, and the action was well constructed within the genre. If you enjoyed the Hunger Games, Maze Runner and Divergent series, or are just wanting another within that vein, you'll definitely enjoy Subject A36. Otherwise, it doesn't do anything to differentiate itself from the pack of YA dystopian novels before and after it.
The main protagonist in this book is Ash and the majority of the book is from his perspective with a couple of chapters from others. For the first couple of chapters I thought Ash was a girl and that the relationship with Brynn was a F/F one. I soon discovered that was incorrect and adjusted that view when someone referred to his as their brother. The book starts off briefly explaining the world we are in. It says all disease has been cured by gene editing, including HIV. As a scientist this got me off on the wrong foot because HIV is not a genetic disease, it is a virus that causes AIDS, the disease. I found it hard for the author to say that infections by viruses and bacteria are fixed by splicing genes. I think that got me off on the wrong book for this book. In addition, I didn’t understand why they needed to harvest people and kill them when all you need is a bit of DNA or RNA to fix their attributes and make designer babies, so to speak. Also, Ash kept referring to Brynn as his sister quite a few times throughout the book despite the fact they were in a relationship. That was also a bit wrong. I know they aren’t blood related at all but it didn’t sit right. Apart from that, the book was easy to read, although it was quite obvious who Subject A36 was very early on but not revealed until half way. I didn’t love it, but I also didn’t hate it. The writing was good, I just think the science part set me off on the wrong foot.
This is a debut novel in a series that is a dystopian tale. The premise of the novel is intriguing and grabs you. But, overall, it was just okay for me. I think some of the pacing or flow of the story was too clunky for my taste. It’s an interesting idea and the following books may provide a more flowing narrative. I will continue to keep my eye on this writer. Thanks to #Netgalley #BlackRoseWriting
Loved this book beginning to end. I can't wait to see where the author takes us in the next book. Really quick read, page turner.
Having spent the afternoon reading this book, I can say it full incorporates the feel of a dystopian book. The blurb doesn’t give to much away which I like. I had a sense of excitement throughout to see what would happen next. Brilliantly written.
In this world we have a group known as The Colony, people who are prepared to harvest anyone for positive genetic features. We don’t know why, or how, this world came about - and I was rather surprised by the lack of information about the bigger world picture created in this debut dystopian novel. That lack of detail possibly comes as we’re focused on quite a small segment of the world - a being identified as A36 and a group of Insurgents trying to rescue those at risk of genetic harvesting. Our story opens with a dramatic escape by an eight year old boy. He has been briefed by his parents about what to do if soldiers ever arrive at their home. We have no idea why he’s told this, or what could happen, but it certainly gives an engaging opening. The focus then shifts in time to some years later. The boy, Ash, made it to his safe place where he was taken in. We learn he’s spent years being trained as an Insurgent and is pretty efficient. A substantial period is spent establishing the character of Ash and the dynamics of his relationships. It’s evident that this is to explain his actions later on. Things start to go wrong, and we learn that the group has been compromised. It’s part of an attempt to get back subject A36...and it doesn’t take us long to work out this is Ash. What we then follow is the betrayal of Ash’s team, the capture of someone important to him and Ash’s plan to help those he loves. Along the way we learn a little more of just what has been done to Ash, and further details to hint at the bigger picture to this experiment. While there are parts of this that jar a little, it is an interesting idea with characters you quickly become invested in. There’s enough of a suggestion of what’s to come to make me keen to read book two. Thanks to NetGalley for the entertainment, allowing me to read this prior to publication in exchange for my review.
In a dystopian future the world is divided in The Colony and the Outliers where people from the colony "harvest" the desirable traits from outliers by extracting genes and basically treat them like cows. The Insurgents are a group who try to fight back and free people from certain and that's where we meet Asher. He a well trained and competent soldier from the Insurgents who has lost his parents and sisters when he was younger after a raid by the Colony. Now he is in the rebel group together with his best friend Noah and girlfriend Brynn. The plot will not be real surprising if you have read books like this before, but the writer does a good job with the twists and turns, action, establishing characters and setting up the beginnings of a serie. In the end it got a little bit too repetitive for me in regards to certain plans and outcomes, but overall it was a book that I very much enjoyed reading and had me turning the pages fast. *** An ARC was provided to me in exchange for a honest review ***
My Favourite Thing: Nerd alert: I love the science and ethics in this book! It combined my two favourite things: reading science fiction as a hobby and learning about biology in school. Although not everything was perfectly factual, Polen was very close and gave readers an essence of the atmosphere. I found Subject A36 to be uncanny, as in despite the fact it's fictional and futuristic, it heavily reflects our society today. Cosmetic surgery, radioactive treatments, implants... cloning and genetic engineering is coming next. I appreciate the science elements of the book for entertainment purposes as well as its thought-provocation. Recommended For and Similar Reads: This book covers a range of genres/topics, meaning there's no way you can go wrong with it! Subject A36 discusses ethics, morality, sciences, heroism, growing up too quickly, relationships in desperate times, and heartbreaking realities. Similar reads are Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Catalyst by Kristin Smith, The Originals by Cat Patrick, Brave New Girl by Rachel Vincent (and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley), and even Jurassic Park by Michael Chrichton! Main Selling Point: This book teaches teens a thing or two about ethics, morality, and growing up too quickly without boring them to death. There's plenty of action and adventure to keep them entertained as well!
Subject A36 is a terrifying story that takes place in a horrible dystopian future. The book begins with a flashback to introduce the MC but you won’t know anything about the Colony and the world the characters live in. You will then slowly get new information and understand how terrifying it is. I loved that there is no world-building and you are directly thrown into this universe. It was fast-paced (sometimes a little bit too fast in my opinion) and some events were predictable, but others I did not see coming at all! I love when a book surprises me like that! It was a short book, a great introduction to the series in my opinion, and I will read what is next because I need more. Subject A36 is a story about survival, betrayal, love and friendship! I definitely recommend it!
Thank you to the publishers, author and NetGalley for a free copy of this book! My opinion of this book changed a few times while reading, but ended on a good note overall! I always enjoy stories like this where I feel this could actually come to be in our world, and a future where people's "good" genes are harvested wouldn't surprise me. I was a little confused at the beginning when, after a few chapters, I realized the main character was male- I feel as if it changed my perspective on the story line completely when that was made clear. Other than that I look forward to see where this series goes!
This started off strong, and I was completely engaged ... and then it dropped off a bit. I ended up skimming through most of the middle and then read the last quarter. Overall, I liked it, and I will definitely look for the next book (which is why I wanted to post a review rather than declining to give feedback). The writing is tight, the pacing was actually pretty good (it's really the fault of our current world situation right now that I couldn't focus), and although I found the ending really frustrating, I'm sure that's also a good sign, right? I'll give it 3 stars, but that reflects my inability to read it thoroughly more than my actual enjoyment of the book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Black Rose Writing with providing me what an ARC for this book! In a dystopian future, Ash and the rest of the Insurgents fight against the Colony, a corporation that serve the elite by murdering civilians in their "harvest sites." This is a story about hope, fighting for what you believe in, staying true to yourself and essentially, what it means to be human. I highly recommend not judging this book by it's cover, synopsis or first 50 pages (I'll get back to that later). It took me a long time to read this book, but I regret putting it down for so long, because I read the last half in a day. I just HAD to know what happened next! The thing that hooked me most to this book were the fully fleshed out characters. I loved Ash, Noah, Brynn and even Oz (though I do have some comments on his character development). Usually in these type of YA novels, characters form a relationship through the books and you go along with them. But I absolutely loved reading about a group of people that already shared such a deep connection. It helped the plot immensely to have these characters already so deeply rooted in each other's lives. Another thing I loved about how these characters were written was the fact that they were so true to each other and their own values. For the sake of spoilers, I'll just say that some classic YA tropes were handled a lot better than they usually are in these type of novels, because it felt like the characters (especially Ash) actually contemplated what to do first, before acting recklessly. Nothing annoys me more than teenage angst in YA novels that could be solved by talking about it or taking a few seconds to think. A lot of my frustrations were spared in this novel and I was very pleasantly surprised. A point of criticism I do have regarding the character development, was that of Oz. I understand how he's important to the arc of the main plot (and Ash's character arc), but I felt like his character was kind of all over the place. I really hope he comes back in the sequel and we get to see some more of his motives and personality (because I feel like there's a lot of potential there). Another thing that bothered me, though it might be a personal taste, is the writing style. This is the main reason why I wasn't too crazy about this book at first (and why I'm not giving it 5 stars). Besides the fact that I don't like first person past tense (which is just a preference), some parts of the book read a little too much like a first draft to me and I found myself being endlessly annoyed by characters saying "Ooooooh" in their internal dialogue. In the end, Polen has managed to write a novel that portrays deep emotion (even despite the slightly annoying internal dialogue at times), gives a thrilling plot that I couldn't put down and set up a great start for a book series, leaving the reader desperate for more (I can't believe I have to wait forever to read the next book). So, if dystopian YA science fiction is your thing, but you're kind of sick of the constant angst, pining and characters making stupid decisions, this is 100% a book you'll love.