Bryn is addicted to a drug that keeps her alive. Being tested for military purposes, Returné contains nanites that keep a body from decomposing even after it’s been killed. Bryn is, in essence, a drug-induced zombie. Now, in Rachel Caine’s TERMINATED (Amazon), Bryn will do anything to stop the Fountain Group from seeing its nefarious goals come to fruition: eliminating the addicted test subjects and selling the upgraded drug to the highest bidders.
There are good and bad things about being indestructible. For one, when you’re being hunted down by assassins (lead by the also upgraded Jane, Bryn’s boyfriend Patrick’s ex-wife) you have a better chance of survival, even if you get blown up or shot you still come back in as good of shape as before. The bad thing is that being blown up or shot is traumatic in itself and when you return you remember every detail in all its excruciating pain. That changes a person and even though Bryn tries not to change, she sees parts of herself in the monstrous Jane.
Fortunately Bryn has Patrick, and her friends Joe, Riley, Pansy, and her sister Annie. Together they may be just enough to stop the Fountain Group. The pitfall of only having read this book and not the previous ones is that while these characters were interesting, I didn’t get the depth necessary to feel connected to them. The only person I really got to know was Bryn, the PoV character. She feels the urgency to survive and stop the Fountain Group, but it means doing what’s needed to anyone who gets in her way, and sometimes it’s violent and innocent people get hurt. Caine does a good job portraying Bryn’s struggle with what needs to be done and trying to keep from becoming Jane.
The story moves very quickly. Bryn and her friends have to cover a lot of ground in order to find the key players of the Fountain Group. They trek across the country, cover thousands of miles, dodge assassins, hide out from missile-carrying drones… it all gets pretty exhausting, there isn’t much downtime. I think perhaps that while the breakneck pace is a reality of the situation, it also hides a bigger problem: key plot events are contrived. It felt like a typical ‘running from the bad guys’ thriller without seeing the bad guys face to face or what they’re really capable of, with the necessary back story thrown in to explain away twists in the plot. It was frustrating.
Still, Caine’s prose is clean and straightforward and she provides an exciting and satisfying resolution. The series might be fun on a weekend when you need some mindless popcorn entertainment.
- Recommended Age: 17+
- Language: A few dozen instances scattered throughout
- Violence: Lots of fighting, death, and blood
- Sex: One scene with detail, rape referenced