Theme: A new world Sci-Fi surrounding the forced addiction of soldiers to the deadly sins- mainly glutton, sloth and wrath.
Nature of Review: NetGalley provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Release Date: The Sin Soldiers was released on July 23/2019 and is available for purchase on kindle, as well as in paperback on Amazon and B&N.
Warnings: I found the harshest themes in this story were violence, forced institutionalization and mainly the harsh reality of death, addiction and captivity.
“That they’re monsters,” she said, ignoring Tessa’s frown. “Completely unable to control their most basic urges. They’re infected the moment they’re born with the seven deadly sins that are spoken of in the old scriptures. They grow to be trained killers; the attack dogs of the East.”
Kai is a thief living on the streets of a post-Earth planet, having to steal in order for her and her orphan brother, Dex, to survive. Their latest robbery of stealing from Club Seven- where the monstrous, genetically enhanced soldiers go to make money for their handlers- should’ve went off without a hitch. But even a human can’t resist the basic need of hunger, and Kai gets herself trapped by a Seven Solider and forcefully enlisted into the army herself.
Not giving up hope for her escape, Kai tries to resist the urges that the army chemically force on her, giving her injections of the serums to break her and remake her exactly as they see fit. But as she goes on living with her fellow soldiers, she realizes that escape might not be so possible after all, and that no soldier ever gets their happy ending.
Dex hasn’t given up on his sister though, and he’s working his connections on the outside to find Kai and bring her home safely, even though Kai begins to form real relationships with the soldiers she found so horrifying and refuses to leave them to suffer alone.
A story of monstrous greed and deadly addiction, The Sin Soldiers enters a future world descended from our own, where human’s lack of compassion and hunger for power thrives and threatens to destroy yet another generation.
“For he that fights and runs away, may live to fight another day,” she whispered. It had been sort of their private joke for ages. Bravery or cowardice? They had both decided bravery in the end; just keep on plugging along, for as long as they could, together.
I haven’t read science fiction novel in ages, so when I saw the promise The Sin Soldiers offered, I was quick to request it, and even happier to have been approved for an ARC!
To start off, I’ll say I was not disappointed with the story as a whole. I was glad the worldbuilding was there since the beginning, and our characters were thrown onto this post-Earth new-world planet that had been corrupted long before they were born. They had to learn to survive this world, this greed, this downfall of the human race. And the story started off right with a bang because there was no going back to explain things- we were already there, waiting and watching along with Kai to find out what happened next.
I also was intrigued by the unique idea of the Seven Soldiers, who are forcefully manipulated and injected with compounds that make them possess qualities such as wrath, glutton and sloth, depending on their purpose in the army. It was so refreshing to read a story that was focused on something other than the destruction of human kind or earth, and to have a story that takes place after the damage is done and these kids have to suffer the consequences.
“Because somewhere inside, the last of those dying feelings are terrified. You still can’t handle being vulnerable. You have such an instinct to run away you’ve perfected it.”
I find I am having a harder time with certain Young Adult novels these days, and find they are just lacking something that could push them from “good” to “amazing!”. For this story, I feel the plot and worldbuilding had the potential to be something intense and wild and an absolute thriller. While it had it’s moments, where I really felt the terror and disgust the characters felt, other times it just felt so tame compared to the premise. Like if this was real life, it wouldn’t be so easy or so kind to them. But I’m finding this lacking in a lot of YA, ones that don’t particularly push the boundaries to New Adult, so I think my taste is just changing.
Aside from the originality of this story, I enjoyed the different POVs of the characters and how each character was filled with a unique history, a special set of traits, and facing their own tortures in the army. You rooted for every character, even the not so nice ones, and saw dark sides to every hero that made them seem realistic and well-rounded. I loved how no character was perfect, even the genetically enhanced Soldiers. I loved how the relationships slowly developed, even when some of them were started on lies and deception. I loved how heartbreaking and yet so hopeful the stories of each character was. There were no happy endings, but it was set up for a definite sequel.
I do have to point out a quick note about the ending- mainly how I felt it ended at a weird place. There was a fairly good climax, and then the story just continued on for a while after that and ended at a slightly boring point. I felt either it should have ended sooner or continued slightly longer to make the perfect cliffhanger. I’m sure everyone knows a book like this, and it might be personal preference because I love dramatics, but I felt the ending could have left us with a larger bang.
“He just didn’t want to be anymore. It hurt too badly. He felt awful about what it would do to (her), but he was done.”
Overall, The Sin Soldiers was a decently interesting and utterly unique Sci-Fi thriller, with slow-burn romance and heartbreaking hardships to make it a well-rounded story. I’d recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys new-world sci-fi and wants a little extra realism. The Sin Soldiers isn’t a story I’m about to forget any time soon, for all the best reasons.