Memorable characters; a smooth, suspenseful plotline; and a fascinating premise make this debut a worthy addition to the genre. Give it to kids who are a little too young for Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games.
—School Library Journal
Readers who are not yet ready for The Hunger Games should be attracted to resourceful Taemon, as he learns that real strength comes in many different forms
—Publishers Weekly online
This is an exciting tale that will keep readers hooked until the end.
—Library Media Connection
Debut novelist Krumwiede offers a fast-paced dystopian novel that ably explores the corrupting influ-ence of power. In the future, people with "psi" (abilities that typically manifest as a type of telekinesis) have segregated themselves into a mountainous region, and those few without such powers are ban-ished from the main city. Taemon, a 12-year-old boy, has discovered that his psi goes beyond telekine-sis to include remote viewing and other gifts. His jealous older brother, Yens, believes himself to be the True Son predicted in prophecies, and he is willing to kill Taemon to secure his place. When an accident leaves Taemon powerless, he is exiled and begins to discover both the true nature of psi and the secret history of his people. Krumwiede's combination of conspiracy and corruption among the ruling class is familiar, with nefarious villains sometimes crossing into cartoonish territory. Still, readers who are not yet ready for The Hunger Games should be attracted to resourceful Taemon, as he learns that real strength comes in many different forms. Ages 10–up. Agent: Molly Jaffa, Folio Literary Management. (Oct.)
Gr 5–7—This dystopian novel packs a punch with an original premise and a fully developed future society. Taemon, 12, lives in a city where everyone can move objects with their minds, a power called psi. One day, while arguing with his brother, he hears a strange voice and is asked to make a difficult choice. His decision costs him his supernatural abilities. Taemon attempts to fake it for a while, but it's next to impossible. Without psi, he can't even feed himself, since using his hands would reveal his secret. It doesn't take long before he ends up exiled to a colony of "powerless" people. The colony isn't as backward as Taemon was raised to believe, though, and there he learns valuable lessons about the power he lost and the power still inside him. Meanwhile, his cruel older brother is being groomed as the True Son, a much-revered individual who, according to prophecy, will bring on the next Sacred Cycle. All of this leads to a gutsy conclusion. While the concept of psi and all of its intricacies is described well, at times the narrative feels repetitive, reminding readers that every action is accomplished using it. However, memorable characters; a smooth, suspenseful plotline; and a fascinating premise make this debut a worthy addition to the genre. Give it to kids who are a little too young for Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008).—Mandy Laferriere, Staley Middle School, Frisco, TX
The power of psi, or the ability to control objects with thought, is kept in check by one's conscience. So, when 12-year-old Taemon's brother Yens, a boy with far more drive than self-control, is named True Son--a prophesied Messiah-like figure--Taemon is forced to decide how far he is willing to go to protect those he loves. Following a terrible accident, Taemon hears a voice giving him permission to kill his unstable brother. Rather than follow this psychic command, he gives up his psi, leaving him unable to live within the city. Taemon is forced to move to a powerless colony where people use their hands to eat and work. There he meets Challis, his mother's sister, who exposes him to many secrets that threaten to undo everything he believes. An uneven plot and predictable showdown between the two brothers is partially saved by the surprise ending. Krumwiede facilitates worldbuilding with a psi-centered religion, jargon and slang, as well as caste divisions. At first penned as the stable, sensitive brother, Taemon seems oddly unaffected by his exile. In contrast, Yens, rather than being complicated or interesting, comes across as simply psychotic. Supporting characters are similarly flat. Readers will be drawn to the unique premise, but the many obvious flaws will leave them wanting more. Ultimately unsatisfying. (Dystopian adventure. 10-14)