Dystopian · Sci-Fi · Young Adult books

Twell & the Army of Powers by Kate O’Leary

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way and the thoughts expressed are my own.

This sci-fi dystopian follows Twell Anar, an average High School student gifted with telekinetic powers. She lives in Caran on Como, a beautiful planet controlled by The Governing Body (The G. B.). Twell’s world is full of strict rules but she’s so used to it she doesn’t question it. Years ago, the Comians fought against the Abwarzians who attempted to steal Como’s water. In the process, many children were orphaned and new rules were put in place, including the law that allows the government to choose your job and your partner based solely on your DNA. Abwarz is a dried-up planet, desperate for water, making the Comians nervous of another attack. The Abwarzians have been demonised, heightening the people’s fear. This story follows Twells story but also the story of her people and their planet.

Twell has never openly displayed her powers in from of people except for her friends and her guardian, Shay. Despite her best efforts she’s been noticed and enrolled in specialist training to develop her abilities. It’s interesting that though every Comian is gifted with some low-level abilities Twell and her fellow trainees still hide theirs. I think this mostly stems from their desire to get some privacy from the G. B. who monitor everything they do, even tracking their location. Talk about Big Brother! We see Twell develop, gaining confidence in herself and her powers and making new friends with her training classmates. Her classmates are entertaining and make a good supporting cast.

Of course, there’s a love triangle. . . Twell loves Chaz but he’s dating Mira, a real bitch in the beginning. Jonaz is the school playboy, with a new girl every day. Twell can’t stand him but as they get to know each other she finds herself drawn to him, though she knows better. It was disappointing to read about such a stereotype, girl hates boy at the start but by the end they get together, let alone two. Can’t someone just hate someone else without dating them by the end. Still, I was entertained and eager to see if Twell got together with who I expected. To make her love life even more complicated, at the end of the year the G. B. will assign her a partner who she’s expected to marry and eventually have children.

As with many dystopians the government monitors everyone and censors what they deem too controversial. To make this novel more unique the government has taught the people they are pacifists with no violent desires whatsoever. Twell’s conflicted throughout the novel, she knows what she’s supposed to be like but her temper repeatedly gets the better of her. This makes her feel like even more of a freak.  I like that Twell isn’t some meek girly-girl who gets along with everyone and never wants to hit anyone. It makes her feel more well-rounded, more real. She is a very flawed character but over the novel she develops and grows, learning more about her world, her late parents and herself. The Abwarzians have dried up features and are thought to be filled only with hate and greed but of course the Abwarzians aren’t nearly as simple as that just like the Comians.

The G. B. want Twell and her friends to join a new team they’ve created called The Army of Powers in anticipation for the next Abwarzian attack. The training is brutal and the trainers are almost sadistic, especially Raze who seems to have it in for Twell. Just reading about the training made my body ache. They’re just lucky they have someone with a healing ability. On that note, it’s interesting how the boy who can heal people could reverse it and cause horrible pain, it’s something I hadn’t thought of before and was a unique take on it. Plus, the boy had an interesting backstory around his powers.

I did find it frustrating that many of the characters’ names started with ‘m’. It made it very hard to keep track of who was who, especially when trying to figure out who had which power. The paragraphs were very long which made reading feel like a chore, especially by the end. Even so I was entertained and eager to see what would happen. I’m especially keen to see what happens in the next book thanks the cliff-hanger. I can’t wait to see Twell’s reaction to her husband! I give it a 4/5.

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