TITLE: Slam (A Psionics Novella)
AUTHOR: Tash McAdam
PUBLISHER: Glass House Press
AVAILABILITY: Purchase links available on the author's website (click here)
Young Adult - Sci-Fi/Dystopia
Danger and superpowers and rebellion, oh my! SLAM is the high-octane introduction to Tash McAdam's upcoming YA dystopia series, The Psionics, and follows the tough-as-nails teen rebel Serena - who possesses the psionic powers akin to telepathy plus telekinesis - on her first mission for the Anti-Reprogramming Collective (ARC), an opposition group fighting the powerful and evil Institute. In this bleak future, children with telepathic powers are kidnapped and enslaved by the Institute, which seeks to use their powers to exert absolute control over the populace.
Serena's little brother is one of these children, and she'll stop at nothing to save him. But her only chance at saving him is to prove to ARC that she's capable of fighting for them. And so she undergoes a grueling training and testing regime before embarking on her first official task: an extraordinarily dangerous mission into the enemy's territory. And she doesn't even know what she's looking for there, only that if the enemy gets it first, all could be lost.
McAdam's stark and striking writing style boldly bring this action-packed adventure to life. Every line barrels into the next, taut with suspense, and keeps you wanting more. I ended up reading the whole novella in one sitting because I literally couldn't put it down! But not only is the suspense high - the characters are thoroughly engaging. McAdam manages to delve deep into Serena's psyche, allowing the reader to see what she sees and feel what she feels, while keeping up the rapid pacing. It's almost as if the author's a psionic herself, projecting the character's emotions and experiences into the reader's mind.
The supporting character Leaf - a young gutterpunk who aids Serena on her mission - was a real standout. He's only present for the middle third or so, but sparkles in each moment. A chameleon with a mysterious power and bold attitude (and not to mention a unique accent!), he springs to life from his very first appearance and is probably one of the most memorable characters I've encountered in a while.
And then there's the world all this takes place in. The stark contrast between the struggling slums and the gleaming sci-fi civilization run by the government behind the Institute sets an excellent stage for a post-apocalyptic battle between the underdogs and the almighty Powers That Be. It's got everything - scrappy heroes, dark enemies, high tech... This is seriously catnip for dystopia fans.
All in all, SLAM is a highly enjoyable action/adventure tale, and I can't wait for the rest of the Psionics series!
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