*I received an ecopy of this book from the author. This has not influenced my review.*
The book was very gritty, grungy, and dirty (literally dirty, like with dirt and sweat and other bodily fluids). The main character lived in the slums. The book was filled with drug addiction and lots of mentions of prostitution and rape (though no explicit scenes—well, except one scene in which Andi and some others were touched without consent). There were graphic descriptions of various sorts of disgusting things, including injuries and dead bodies. Every other word in Andi’s head or out of her mouth was some sort of guttermouth slang. So basically, it is not a book for the easily offended or weak-stomached.
Speaking of Andi’s voice though, it was very different from the usual that you find in books, which was refreshing. It was full of slang and completely colored by her life and situation. I can’t really explain it, but I recommend reading a preview of the book on Amazon (or somewhere) to get a feel for it if you’re unsure about whether you’ll like it or not. (Reading a preview will also show you how gritty the book is.)
There was also a great message in this book not just about being intersex but about being who you are and letting people be who they are. The main characters didn’t want to be assigned a binary gender, they were happy just being themselves with the bodies they were given, and all they wanted was to be given the option to keep those bodies.
The plot/pacing was where I think the book lost me though. I didn’t understand/believe/see the point of some things (for example, I felt like there was no way Andi wouldn’t have died of infection after everything her body went through), and I just wasn’t gripped. Also, the timeline for how their society came to be the way it was didn’t make sense, unless I just misunderstood (which is possible because I was confused). And to be honest, I think the language and Andi’s voice got to be a little bit too much for me after a while.
However, overall, it had a somewhat unique premise, it included representation of a part of the LGBTQIA+ community that you don’t see often in books, and the writing had a deep POV with a unique voice.
Anyone who likes dystopian, gritty books, unique character voices, and non-binary characters.
How do you fight for who you are, when the government controls what you are?
Andi knows being born an intersex “Transgressor” and then choosing to stay that way, can have lethal consequences. After all, surgical assignment is mandated by law. But she ain’t going to spend her life hiding from the Society, hooked on Flow, and wanking tourists just to make a few bucks. She’s a member of the Trans Liberty Riot Brigade, an underground faction of Transgressors resisting the government’s war on their illegal genitalia.
But it’s not enough to tag their messages on shithouse walls and sniff down the next high. The government has found their headquarters, decimated their ranks, and they’re crushing the resistance. Though Andi might be nothing but a junktard, she embarks on a desperate dash to stay alive and send a call for help before they’re all killed—or worse, surgically assigned.
Andi, together with Brigade leader Elenbar, must get beyond the communications block preventing all radio transmission, which means crossing the seaboard Wall barricading the United Free States borders. It’s designed to keep enemies out and the citizens in, but amid increasing earthquakes and deadly pursuit, Andi will discover there’s a far more dangerous secret hidden deep within the Wall itself.