Author: Shelley Workinger
Series: Solid #1
Release Date: July 9, 2010
How Received: Author
Summary: Eighteen years ago, a rogue Army doctor secretly experimented with a chromosomal drug on unknowing pregnant women. When he was killed not long after the children were born, any knowledge and evidence seemed to die with him – except the living, breathing, human products of his work.
Almost two decades later, the newly self-proclaimed “open-book” military unearths the truth about the experiment, bringing Clio Kaid and the other affected teens to a state-of-the-art, isolated campus where they soon discover that C9x did indeed alter their chromosomes – its mutations presenting as super-human abilities. The military kids, who come from across the nation and all walks of life, come into their own as light-than-air “athletes”; “indies” as solid as stone walls; teens who can make themselves invisible and others who can blind with their brilliance.
While exploring her own special ability, forging new friendships and embarking on first love, Clio also stumbles onto information indicating that the military may not have been entirely forthcoming with them and that all may not be as it seems...
The premise for this novel was very interesting. Teenagers with superhuman abilities? Sounds pretty awesome. While there wasn’t too much development with that premise – the book is essentially about finding out what the adults weren’t telling them – I’d truly love to explore the quirks to these abilities the teenagers have. We know so far that Clio and Miranda have disappearing abilities, Bliss can shine like a blinding light, Garrett has high athletic talent, and Jack is... well, we don’t know what Jack can do. But I’d really like to see these areas be explored more in the next novel.
There was a connection that was lacking with the characters. The main character, Clio, had a somewhat indistinct voice – we hardly ever heard her opinions or feelings in things. Since Solid was presented in first person, I would have expected more connection between the reader and main character, but it truly just felt like Clio retelling a story she was observing.
The dynamics between the characters didn’t seem all too realistic. There was no real depth to the relationship Clio and Jack had. I didn’t even see what Clio liked about Jack, other than he was good looking, he could juggle, and he made a constellation out of lights for her in his room. I expected more development and quite frankly, there didn’t feel like there was any. Clio and Bliss were best friends within a week, but there were hardly any scenes of them talking together. Miranda especially befuddled me. She’s a very blunt and outspoken character, but I don’t see why she would suddenly make friends with Clio’s group.
I think this novel could have been a lot longer. It’s only around 200 pages, and the events that transpire only occur in a week (or two). Maybe it’s just me with my trust issues, but I don’t make friends, with hardly any mishaps, or best friends that easily. This book has a lot of great potential – it was absolutely fascinating reading about the chromosomal experiments (science degree, hello =)). If there were more development (with the abilities, characters, and relationships), this would have been even better than it was. It was, however, a good start to the series, and I’m eagerly anticipating what will happen in Settled!
Cover Musings: If I wasn’t pursuing a science degree, I probably would have thought the cover was bacteria or that the book was about a virus. But that’s chromosome 9 (I believe, if I recount one of Shelley’s interviews correctly). It doesn’t stand out, but it isn’t bad, either.
The one thing in the room surely not mine was the black plastic monstrosity on the side of my roll-top desk. I had to do a double-take to confirm that yes, indeed, it was a retro dial-up phone, tethered down by a curly cord. (pg. 42)
“I’m just missing you sweetheart. It’s hard to let go, like waiting out your first sleepover all over again.”“Yeah, the one where you dug some night-vision goggles out of Dad’s old gear and paid the guy next door to watch the house I was staying at? I wouldn’t call that letting go.” It was pretty funny in retrospect, although it hadn’t been to the mortified eleven-year-old-me. (pg. 44)
Speaking of Miranda, the girl was quick to prove she could get us out of a bad situation like nobody’s business. “This party is phat, Colonel C – we’ve gotta get in there ASAP or we’ll miss something.” She flashed him her pageant-sweet smile as she pulled Bliss and I away with her. She really was starting to grow on me – in a fungal kind of way, but not poisonous at least. (pg. 87)
His kiss was powerful, confident with feelings and want, but without the intent to capture my mouth, to claim it. All I felt was the pull of him – a call to my heart to come out and join him at a mutual center. (pg. 123)
“Failure is not an option,” Garrett admonished her in his most ominous tone. “Come on!” He addressed the table when he didn’t get the desired reaction. “Apollo 13?” Guys, you gotta work with me here. I swear it’s like I’m all alone half the time...” (pg. 159)
Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: Solid was a very quick, fun read. The premise was interesting and was able to draw me in to want more. However, it was short. That was probably its downfall. I feel a lot of things could have been described and expanded more – explanations, character development, relationships, etc. There was tons of potential, though. The end left off on a somewhat happy/hopeful note, so I’m intrigued by where Shelley plans to go on with Settled!
**I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.