CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 29. . . .March 29, 2013
I will admit that when it comes to sci-fi / fantasy / alternate reality, I am sometimes hesitant. I have been exposed to many books in which an idea at first seems original and intriguing, only to fall flat within a few short pages. I am incredibly pleased to say that Eve Silver’s Rush is not one of those books. Within one chapter, I found myself hooked. The stakes are high, the action is consistent, and there is never too much revealed at once; Silver has a wonderful talent with suspense. Perhaps before going on, however, it would be prudent for me to summarize the book.
Miki Jones is a complicated and broken high school student. Her life is difficult; her mother is out of the picture, her father drinks (sometimes a bit too much), and not long into the first chapters, her best friend becomes less than supportive. One day while she is sitting with her friends in a field watching Luka Vujic run around the school track, she notices a young girl about to get hit by a truck. While attempting to rescue the girl from certain death, Miki ends up hit, lying in the middle of the road, when suddenly she blacks out and wakes up again in “the lobby.” She has no idea how she has come to this place, but she realizes she is no longer injured, and she is not alone.
A boy named Jackson Tate explains that Miki is now part of a team of teen soldiers, chosen—by whom, nobody except Jackson seems to know—to play a part in the destruction of a race of alien beings known as the Drau. These beings are both beautiful and terrifying, lightning fast and ruthlessly efficient killers. When Miki discovers that the “game” she thought she was playing has real-life consequences, everything becomes chaos and questions; her life seems out of control, and she finds herself attracted to the one person she finds the most infuriating—Jackson Tate. But what about Luka, with whom she also has a connection? In this beautiful and engrossing novel, Silver has constructed a high-stakes adrenaline rush (pun intended) that will leave readers hungry for more.
Miki is a character I honestly was not expecting to fall in love with—though neither was Jackson, if truth be told—but with the utterance of a single line, I could not help but cheer: “My features reflect the fact that my mom’s dad was Nisei—second-generation Japanese American—but my eyes are my dad’s mom’s unique shade of indigo blue. Every time people tell me I look ‘exotic,’ I have to resist the urge to kick them in the shin.” Miki is bold and not afraid to say what she thinks or to ask the questions that nobody else wants to ask, or answer, for that matter. She is spunky and richly imagined, with a haunted family past that serves to make her all the more sympathetic and lovable.
Jackson is a complete jerk. At least, at the beginning. And pretty much still by the end. But he is round and complicated. His past is one that is full of intrigue and darkness, and his desire to be good, combined with his history, turns him into an intriguing and infuriating character that I, at least, could not help but feel deeply connected to. Luka is a solid character as well, though one who is perhaps less developed that Miki and Jackson. Even so, he is strong and likeable, with charisma and charm. Even Miki’s father, her best friend Carly, and another teen soldier named Tyrone have great depth for secondary characters.
Rush is the first book in a series that promises to get better as the plot thickens and the stakes increase (and hopefully, as more about the game is revealed.). Silver writes with a deft hand, constructing a realistic but still alien world which she controls with great skill. For readers with a penchant for sci-fi / fantasy (and yes, even romance), this book will be sure to please.
Rob Bittner recently graduated from the MA in Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia and is now a PhD student in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC.
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