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Shanon Hunt
The Rage Colony
Shanon Hunt, author
Behind the protective Colony walls, Layla’s world of purity is nothing like she thought. Nor is the baby she carries. But as she struggles to constrain the invasive life growing inside her…a new evolved breed of humans is about to be unveiled.
Hunt’s gripping second series installment (after 2019’s The Pain Colony) follows two intertwining narratives: a utopian colony’s experiments with genetic alteration turn deadly, while a reporter investigates a secretive organization. Eight months pregnant, carrying the colony’s first genetically modified infant, Layla longs for more transparency from her partner, James, the colony leader. She remembers nothing of her “poisoned” life in the outside world, until a new recruit identifies her as Allison Stevens, a wanted murderer. Grappling with her sanity, and experiencing bizarre hallucinations and predatory cravings, she realizes that something is seriously wrong with her child. Meanwhile, reporter Nick Slater is looking for Allison as a mysterious virus ravages the earth. Nick teams up with a group of scientists, exploring the colony’s hazardous genetic engineering, and discovers evidence of human trafficking and a government coverup.

The book strikes a perfect balance between science fiction and scientific realism. As a former pharmaceutical executive, the author’s knowledge of gene editing and the medical field comes in handy. Hunt has written a chilling dystopia, one where gene alteration is used not only to build a strong future, but to destroy those who are considered weak.

Although this is the second book in the series, it works well as a standalone novel. The plot never lags, moving quickly from one shocking discovery to the next, and the two storylines are equally engaging. There are also some bloodcurdling depictions of death and elements of horror throughout, and Hunt does not shy away from the brutality of medical testing. This is a realistic book of ethical quandaries; even the most villainous characters have a streak of morality in them. As with most great science fiction, the questions the novel poses—Should people who make mistakes be given the chance to clean them up? Is justice more important than progress?—will leave readers thinking for days.

Takeaway: This well-written medical mystery, combining the best elements of thriller and sci-fi, is perfect for fans of twist endings and moral quandaries.

Great for fans of: Blake Crouch’s Recursion, Danielle Singleton’s Do No Harm.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B-