Imagine you’re a seventh grader. Your favorite class is Creative Writing, even though you’re getting a C, and you have a huge crush on your Civics teacher, who gives impassioned speeches about the dangers of technology and people’s right to privacy and makes you want to grow up to be a revolutionary. Now fast forward a few years, and you’re a freshman in college, assigned to write a story about technology or something. This book might be what you’d come up with. The writing thinks it’s good, the concepts think they’re shocking, and you’re going to be puzzled and sad when you get yet another C.
There are three groups that matter in the world (plus one that mostly doesn’t – the citizenry, the normals, the general populace – that the other three call Drones). There are the Travelers, who are able to send their consciousness to other realities. There are the…something elses (sorry, I already took the book back to the library) who have spent generations trying to kill the Travelers, because they bring back dangerous ideas from other dimensions and cause unrest and revolution among the Drones. Then there are the Harlequins, who are really really good fighters because they train really really hard, and they protect the Travelers, even though they kind of look down on them (less than they look down on the Drones, of course). Why do the Travelers have mystical power, but the Harlequins don’t get Buffy-strength or anything? They just get years of practice and hereditary swords. No explanation.
Maya is a Harlequin, trained from childhood by her Harlequin father to be swift and deadly and stuff. Basically Ethan from Mission: Impossible. Except she wants a normal life, so off she goes to work in an art gallery or something. When her father is killed right after telling her she must go save two brothers who may or may not be the last Travelers, she has to accept. Off she goes with her sword to find safehouses and bitch at the brothers about staying off the Grid.
I wish I’d kept the book longer, or written this earlier, ’cause all the terminology is just silly. There are machines and computer programs and security cameras and basically everything with a battery is working for the Bad Guys. The only way to be safe is to go to some commune in the desert where “keep off the grid” is mentioned as often as you’d tell an inquisitive toddler “don’t touch the stove.” And all those things have silly names, and the bad guys all work for a shadowy corporation that has a super-creative name like The Company or something. Obviously, my brain cells are rebelling and looking for more interesting nonsense to hold onto.
Anyway, fight fight fight, run run run, question your place in the universe (“you must, because this is how it has ALWAYS BEEN”), slightly cliffhanger (hillhanger?) ending to try and get you to read the next book. Sorry, Maya! Checking out books from the library keeps me too close to the Grid, so I will not be going back to get the sequel.