by Jennifer Jenkins
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC
Publishing Date: October 6, 2015
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Paperback: 336 pages
Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.
Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.
What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.
There is so much to love about this book! It’s heart wrenching, heart racing, page turning, and just so epically awesome. It’s a hard book to put down. Zo is an incredible protagonist that decides from the beginning of the book to risk her life in order to save the clans outside of the wall. Little does she realize her sister follows her to Ram’s Gate and is taken inside the wall along with her. Both her and her sister are immediately enslaved into the services of the Rams and are forevermore called Nameless, a slave with no name. The Rams find out that Zo is a healer and puts her skill to work, telling her that if one soldier should die then her sister will die. The problem with this is that Zo’s abilities to heal come with a price, she can only heal someone she cares about. And how do you care for someone you hate?
The story also follows Gryphon, a Ram soldier with a conscience. Gryphon fights for the cause, sure, but he also is honorable and doesn’t kill unnecessary. Gryphon’s friend Joshua is the first wounded soldier Zo has to heal. Joshua befriends Zo, and Zo has a hard time pushing him away even though she tries. Zo is never a nameless to Joshua. Gryphon at first forces himself to see Zo as a nameless, but as time goes on he begins to see much, much more.
I really enjoyed Joshua. He’s such a sweet boy, and despite him being a Ram, anyone would have their heart warmed from that kid. The other character I found myself surprised to like was Gabe. At first I was thinking there would be some sort of love triangle going on, but honestly it wasn’t like that at all (I’m not a fan of love triangles). So at first when I thought this was going to be just another one of those love triangles, I didn’t really like him. But over time as I got to know Gabe, and realized he was part of Zo’s past, a past she never thought she would see again, it all came together really well. And despite how he might feel for her, and how she might not feel for him, Gabe says and does some pretty note worthy things that definitely wins him a few points. He’s incredibly observant. And he risks his life for her by staying close to the wall and waiting for her. And despite how horrible that situation ends up for him, he’s still just a great person that is definitely willing to do anything for her. There’s even a part in the book, which I won’t give away, that had to do with him and Gryphon fighting and oh my goodness, I thought my heart would pop out of my chest. The author really knows how to put these characters in impossible situations where you really think something absolutely horrible is going to happen to everyone involved, and then you have to keep reading because you need to find out what happened to them. Because the characters are just that lovable despite them being enemies. Honestly the true enemies in this story are the Gate Master and the Chief. They are truly villainous. They are the kind of villains that make your skin crawl.
Both of the main characters have their own inner journey as they realize more and more about the Rams, the Nameless, and the other clans. Zo’s inner journey deals with her hatred for what the Rams have done to her family and learning that not all Rams are evil, some just haven’t been taught any better. Some just have never befriended a Nameless. Gryphon’s inner journey is in discovery that there’s more than a brutal world and in realizing there’s a line one simply cannot cross when it comes to the innocent. Though both points of view are exceptional, I really enjoyed Gryphon’s journey. Of the two, I feel like he had the biggest growth to make. He is her enemy and she is his. He grew up in a brutal world. Participated and accepted the violence around him, telling himself that it was just the way of the world despite how he truly felt. But getting to know Zo completely changes him and he becomes such a strong, trustworthy character that tries to do the right thing despite the horrible situations he ends up in. His story really takes off and it’s hard to not be invested in his story. Zo is a lovable character too, and you really sympathize with her. Her parents were brutally killed by the Rams. She has every reason to despise them. And yet, as the story progresses, Joshua finds a way into her heart.
Jennifer Jenkins has created such an astounding world. The characters are wonderful. It’s a gripping read from beginning to end with an incredible, intense ending that leaves the story open for more. I read the entire book in one day, that’s how incredible it is. It’s simply a must read! I cannot wait for the sequel!
Exciting news! NAMELESS is in development for film by Benderspink! That’s the same company who optioned Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and produced the I AM NUMBER FOUR film!
About the Author:
With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, she’s obsessed with ancient warfare.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.
Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid).
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