"In Behr’s debut YA fantasy novel set thousands of years into a post-apocalyptic future, a princess comes of age in a divided society.
After an ice age killed billions and destroyed most of the world, humanity lived on in specially created colonies populated by either “Evolutionaries”—genetically modified people with extraordinary powers that helped them survive the hardships of the long winter—or “the Hg-1,” the surviving original humans, “with no known abilities.” Long ago, a conflict resulted in the Hg-1 leaving the colonies and the Evolutionaries entering a new era of peace and prosperity in Amera (the former United States). Seventeen-year-old Violet is a Legacy Princess of Neyr, one of Amera’s nine realms, and she has two secrets: Her powers aren’t fully developed, and she’s heard a male voice in her head for as long as she can remember. On the day of her Criterion, “the test that all citizens of the Realms of Amera have to take to prove their worth,” something goes terribly wrong, resulting in carnage and causing her to run away in fear and self-blame. She stumbles into a buried facility that’s controlled by a friendly, if sometimes-snarky, artificial intelligence and finds out important information that she knows that she must share with her family back home. She soon learns that many things that she thought she knew are actually lies. Then old enemies return to the colonies, and peace talks descend into chaos. This first volume in the Evolutionaries series skillfully balances intriguing worldbuilding, whose details are slowly revealed, with well-paced action sequences. It also ably handles Violet’s character development along the way while also offering a diverse, lovable supporting cast whose members become the protagonist’s close friends and allies. The novel effectively addresses themes of cooperation and isolationism as well as autonomy, consent, and moving on with one’s life after learning of long-held secrets."
"A notable and thoughtful addition to the crowded shelf of post-apocalyptic YA novels." Kirkus Reviews
Power Divided- Review by Sarah Foil
This book starts out at a quick and intense fast pace. Violet’s coming of age test of her powers goes awry, causing her to fatally wound her own father. With many books that start so fast-paced, things often swing back in the other direction and end up unbearably slow, but that was not at all the case here. The plot stays full of intrigue and action from start to finish. The author does a great job hooking in the reader and keeping them interested well past the last page.
Violet, as the main character, does fall into some of the tropes of other “Princess separate from home” protagonists, but she grows into an interesting and unique lead. The cast is also filled with other unique characters, like the one of a kind AI, Hailey, who helps Violet throughout her story. I do wish that many of the characters had been introduced earlier on because they are so important to the plot.
At first, I had trouble understanding Violet’s world and I had a lot of questions in the opening chapters. It at first seemed medieval-esque but had elements of science fiction mixed in. However, the author slowly unfolds details about Violet’s kingdom and surrounding countries to turn her setting into a unique world that melds dystopia, sci-fi, and fantasy in a way that I grew to love. The author manages to find the perfect mix of technology and magic.
The first book in S. Behr’s Evolutionaries series risks falling into a number of tropes and stereotypes but instead exceeds expectations. The plot is filled with high-intensity moments and twists that make for exciting reads. Violet and the others in the cast are well-developed and intriguing. But my favorite part of the book ended up being the world the author created, which is a fun and unique mix of sci-fi, dystopia, and fantasy. I’m looking forward to seeing how these elements continue to develop in the next books in the series.
Reviews from the Readers
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This book was so much FUN. Full of adventure, friendship, action, and the start of a sweet relationship – it was everything I wanted in a YA fantasy. What really sets it apart, however, was the imaginative world-building and rich history. Such a breath of fresh air. I’m honestly surprised more people aren’t talking about it.
What I liked:
I loved the backstory and history that we learn as the book unfolds. Although there were moments where it was a little exposition-heavy, the creative way it was told and the mystery of it made it incredibly interesting to me.
Hailey was a freaking riot.
The magic the citizens had was interesting, and I liked the division of the realms based on their gifts.
The friendships made between opposing sides were awesome. I don’t want to spoil anything so I will try to keep it vague, but I like that those bonds were made. Actually – all the friendships were done really well and were such a likable aspect to the story.
I loved the “voice” in her head and everything that followed finding out the truth. 😉
Also – I really loved the entire Ark setting. I could have spent SO much more time there uncovering all the secrets. MORE ARK.
What I didn’t like:
The beginning of the book was a little bit dramatic for me. While it did the job of hooking me in to find out what had actually happened, the inner dialogue was a little bit too dramatic and redundant for my personal tastes. Once the story starts moving along and we set out on the adventure, this was quickly resolved and was a very small blip looking back.