Friday, November 29, 2013
Fractured by Teri Terry
Kyla is confused by bits of memories that begin surfacing after a violent attack by a man named Wayne Best in the woods near her home. Slateds are not supposed to be violent but Kyla is not an ordinary Slated. For one thing her Levo does not work and she doesn't behave like a typical Slated. Kyla begins to have memories of someone named Rain and she starts to realize that she is someone else other than Kyla.
She also begins having memories of a man named Nico. Eventually Kyla remembers and recognizes that her biology teacher, Mr. Hatten, is the enigmatic Nico. Nico finally confronts Kyla and asks her if she remembers who she is. Nico explains to Kyla what happened to her, how he trained her as part of the radical group, Free UK, so that she would survive Slating and recover her memories.
Kyla was born Lucy who was left handed. She joined Free UK when she was thirteen and her left-handedness was changed by Nico (by smashing a brick onto her hand) so that she would be right handed. When she joined Free UK Lucy took the name Rain. Rain taken by the Lorders and was Slated but as a right-handed person. "How Slating is done depends on handedness. Memory access is hemisphere dominated and linked to handedness." So when Rain was Slated, the process did not work because it was done as if she was right-handed when she was really left-handed. This protected her from the procedure.She then returned as a Slated girl named Kyla. Rains memories are intact, just waiting to return which they are now doing gradually.
Kyla continues to meet Nico on and off, but she has mixed feelings about him. She feels alternately repelled and attracted to him but is not certain why. He tells her she is his special one and explains to her, her involvement in the Free UK group. Yet Kyla can't help but feel that Nico is hiding something from Kyla.
Kyla also meets a new guy named Cameron who lives across the street with his aunt and uncle. Cam seems determined to forge a friendship with Kyla, one she's not too interested in developing. At the same time, Tori, Ben's ex-girlfriend reappears, with her Levo removed. Everyone thought that Tori had been terminated but we learn that Tori was spared this fate by a Lorder who "rescued" her and kept her in his home where she was forced to do certain things. Tori murdered this man and escaped and is taken by Kyla to Nico who hides her at a Free UK safehouse.
Nico asks Kyla to learn the layout of the New London Hospital where she continues to go weekly to meet with Dr. Lysander. He also introduces her to an old acquaintance, Katran, who Kyla (as Rain) trained with in Free UK. Because Kyla is experiencing so many difficulties sorting out her identities, Katran warns her to leave Free UK, that Nico has been using her and has had something done to her by a special doctor, Dr. Craig, who has caused her to have two identities. Katran warns her to leave the Free UK group because he suspects Nico's plans for her will place her in danger.
Kyla's situation becomes even more complicated when she is grabbed by the Lorders and taken to see Agent Coulson who tells her they have been monitoring her unusual activities. He knows she is working with AGT (what the Lorders call Free UK) and tells her that if she wants to see Ben again, she will act as a double agent and supply them with intelligence on the terrorist group's activities. Kyla decides not to tell Nico about her meeting with Coulson and to give Coulson only the information he needs while warning Ben.
However, things take a desperate turn when Kyla discovers that Nico and Free UK are planning kidnappings and assassinations, specifically targeting the Armstrong Memorial Day event which her family will attend. This event is in remembrance of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the assassination of Kyla's current mother's father who was Prime Minister at that time. Nico tells Kyla that she must attend the function because she is the only Free UK agent who can infiltrate such a function. He does not tell her what the purpose of her presence will be.
A series of events now happen to move things forward. Nico makes contact with Kyla's mother and tells her that he will provide her with information on her lost son Robert, who was removed in a school bombing years ago, if she makes a statement against the Lorders and Slating at the Armstrong Memorial Day. In order to impress Nico that she can live up to his expectations for her, Kyla helps Nico and Katran capture Dr. Lysander. She also makes the discovery that Ben is alive and is being trained as a Lorder agent at a special facility. When she sneaks onto the facility to meet him she learns that he does not remember her.
When Kyla is told what her mission will be during the Armstrong Memorial Day she struggles to accept what Nico wants of her. Instead, she begins to think on her own and chooses a different path which has repercussions for all involved including Kyla and her family. These events also result in Kyla remembering more of her past, especially when she was Lucy and before she became Rain.
The beginning of this novel was at times confusing; it took several chapters to get into the story and to begin to understand what was happening with Kyla. Terry complicates her novel by having Kyla have three different identities - Lucy, Rain and Kyla. To some characters she is Rain, to others she is Kyla.
In Fractured, Kyla struggles to uncover the mystery of her three identities and her past. We learn that she has been taken from her family and essentially experimented with so that the Slating process will not fully work and so that she can be used by a terrorist organization. The result is a young girl who has a fractured identity and a fragmented memory which she begins to regain as events trigger their recall. Kyla begins to piece everything together with information provided by Nico and Katran, as well as memories that surface from dreams and situations she experiences. Kyla is very conflicted, wanting to please Nico, but also recognizing that if she does what he wants innocent people who have been trying to help her will be harmed. Kyla has a serious moral dilemma to resolve but she proves she's up to the task, despite having little context to make her decisions. She hardly knows Nico, or Dr. Lysander or her mother or father and she has to decide whom to trust.
Terry crafts Nico as a manipulative, cunning man who uses people to achieve his goals of destabilizing the Lorders and ending Slating. Although his intent is a noble one, his means are questionable at best and there is no doubt that he has done considerable harm to Kyla. The way he treats her is creepy and disturbing and Terry effectively relays this to her readers.
There are plenty of other unknowns in the story besides Kyla's past. Who has betrayed Kyla to Agent Coulson? Who is Cam and why is he so intent upon seeing Kyla? What has happened to Ben and what exactly is he involved in now?
Readers will find Fractured takes some time to get going, but Terry does explain what has happened to Kyla fairly early on in the novel. This allows the story to move forward while maintaining Kyla's struggle to understand her past.
The third novel is due out next year and should provide a fitting conclusion to this interesting, unique dystopia.
Fractured by Teri Terry
New York: Nancy Paulsen Books 2013