All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Whisper by Lynette Noni

on May 8, 2018

Whisper (Whisper #1)
Lynette Noni
Pantera Press
2018, 332
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Review {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

“Lengard is a secret government facility for extraordinary people,” they told me.

I believed them. That was my mistake.

There isn’t anyone else in the world like me.

I’m different. I’m an anomaly. I’m a monster.

For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six-Eight-Four — ‘Jane Doe’ — has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.

As Jane’s resolve begins to crack under the influence of her new — and unexpectedly kind — evaluator, she uncovers the truth about Lengard’s mysterious ‘program’, discovering that her own secret is at the heart of a sinister plot … and one wrong move, one wrong word, could change the world.

I love Lynette Noni’s Akernae series and it’s not finished yet so I was quite surprised when I found out she had another book coming out from a brand new series just a few months after the fourth in the Akernae series. I immediately added it to my wishlist, curious to see what else she’d been cooking up.

Subject 6-8-4 in a secret facility known as Lengard is only referred to as Jane Doe, because she won’t tell them her name. In fact she hasn’t uttered a sound since she arrived, over two and a half years ago. Every day she is put through a rigorous training regime, sits through psychological evaluation and is brutally experimented on. And every day she remains silent, no matter what tortures are inflicted upon her. But unexpectedly she’s given a new ‘evaluator’ – and a definitive window of time. If she doesn’t show them what they want to see, then they’ll cut her from the program. And she knows what that means.

‘Jane’ is hiding a terrible secret which is the reason she doesn’t speak. After so much deprivation (Jane is severely isolated, spending the time she isn’t training or being experimented on in a cell, fed a gruel that covers the nutritional needs she requires but is tasteless, etc), Jane is suddenly passed over to a new evaluator, a young man perhaps only a year or two older than she is. He’s kind to her, perhaps the first person to be truly so and it takes her by surprise. She’s also given some privileges, allowed to lead a more normal life away from her cell, wear regular clothes. When Jane finally does show her gift it’s not on purpose but it’s enough for them to see what they need to. And it’s enough for Jane to be set on a path that leads her to question again everything about the program she’s supposed to be involved in.

Okay, so. There’s no denying that there are a few ‘vibes’ in this book that feel a little familiar, that remind me of other bits and pieces of books. But there’s also some quite new and unique stuff as well. Firstly, the setting is amazing – utilising Sydney’s CBD in the most unusual and creative of ways and I really enjoyed that. Likewise the trip to Taronga Zoo really helps anchor the reader in the setting. If you’ve been to Sydney then you’re aware of where the zoo is, how you get there and the experience that involves. It’s a quintessential part of exploring the city. Also I found the idea of Lengard quite fascinating, even when there are some obviously sinister components to it. What they are doing to Jane is horrific and I was curious why it took them so long to try and different method. Jane has lasted over two and a half years being regularly tortured, it’s clear that she wasn’t going to crack under that particular pressure. But to deprive her of everything for so long – regular food, nice clothes, friendship and companionship may have been the long game in order to shower her with kindness all at once and break through her resolve.

Despite the strength she’s shown resisting breaking under torture, Jane is scarred on the inside. She has what she believes is the most terrible of secrets and she’s petrified of it coming out. She has no idea that her special ‘gift’ for want of a better word, can be harnessed and controlled and she has very little self confidence. It seems that a lot of trying to get Jane to reveal herself and then help her understand it in the aftermath, involved playing games with her head. A lot of it seemed counter productive to be honest and gives you the feeling that there are a lot of underlying motives and sinister scenarios, especially when Jane gets an introduction to a rebel group that she’s been led to believe are terrorists.

I liked this more than I liked the first Akernae book and I’ve come to love that series so much so that actually gives me a really good feeling about this because I think Lynette Noni’s books get stronger the further she gets into the series and the world. There’s a lot of really interesting stuff that has been set up here and the ending to this book felt really intense and definitely made me want to know what is going to happen next. Jane undergoes a lot of growth in this book and hopefully she will be stronger and with a lot more self belief, having potentially had a weight lifted from her. There’s the possibility for a love triangle in this, I’m not sure how far it’s going to go, at the moment it seems more the thought or suggestion, as everyone also has their minds on other things. I’m team Option #2, but I’m quite good at picking the ‘wrong’ one! I’m not a big fan of love triangles and it wasn’t too prevalent in this first book but it’ll probably bother me if it becomes something that dominates the story more in future books.

Overall I enjoyed this – it has a few wrinkles to iron out and there were times when it felt too much like something I’d read before but it definitely got better as it went on and I am keen to see where it goes from here.

7/10

Book #84 of 2018

 

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