By School Library Journal
It’s the year 2199, post the Great War that left East Asia divided. Living in the slums of Old Seoul, Lee Jaewon wants a better life and enrolls in the Apgujeong Academy in Neo Seoul to secure a high-level position in the military. After surviving a crucial simulator placement test, Jaewon is placed in the Tower to monitor a secret military weapon—human killing machines. As the rebels become stronger, the military must hurry to prepare their human weapons for battle. There’s just one problem: Jaewon has fallen in love with his assigned killing machine, Tera, and must make a tough decision between love and war. The theme of fathers and sons is multilayered and engaging in this stand-alone novel. Alex Kim, a friend of Jaewon, desperately seeks his father’s approval while his other friend Park Young has made peace with his father. Jaewon’s own parental issues fall somewhere in between as he struggles with abandonment and identity. This debut has a large cast of characters that includes teens and adults, and heroes and villains. Jaewon is the most fully developed, but those around him help to shape this appealing young man and to help him grow and decide which side he is on in the impending civil war. VERDICT This action-packed sci-fi novel, with deeper explorations of empathy, humanity, and the capacity to love, is a great choice for most collections.