Seventeen-year-old Heidi Cruise is a Laborer—the lowest ranking citizen in the hierarchical society of Newland. Doomed to a life of servitude to a Master she will be powerless to, and seeing how her best friend suffers at the cruelty of a superior, Heidi refuses to accept the hand that fate has dealt her.
In an attempt to free her friend and herself, Heidi comes up with a dangerous plan: to disguise themselves as teenage boys and participate in Savage Run—a grueling, male-only obstacle program, which if completed, freedom is rewarded.
But even before the two girls manage to register for the program, major complications arise and Heidi is forced to push forward alone. Before long, Nicholas, a registrar, discovers that Heidi is a girl. Nicholas has his own secrets, and being a rebel in his own right, he decides not to turn her in, but instead to help in any way possible. However, everything is jeopardized when Heidi’s gender is revealed and she must choose between her own safety, her freedom, and the ones she loves.
This futuristic novel by EJ Squires had me thinking about three well-loved fierce heroines of our time – Hua Mulan (Ballad of Mulan) & Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games) and Lisbeth Salander (Girl With Dragon Tattoo). I admit, at first I thought this was another Hunger Games in the making, but I was mistaken when I found myself immersed from the first chapter to the last.
Heidi Cruise is a laborer at the age of seventeen, and soon when she reaches 18, she’s going to serve a Master. But Heidi doesn’t want this kind of life while she’s in Culmination. So she makes plans for her and her bestfriend Gemma, before she succumbs to a life of cruelty. When she sees Master Douglas maltreating her friend, she saves her from her Master and together they run for their lives. Heidi thinks of joining the Savage Run, an obstacle challenge program that enables young men to be free from slavery and live as Masters. So they cut her hair short and Heidi trades in her mother’s locket to get all the pertinent documents needed in Savage Run. But things gets more complicated when Master Douglas pursues her and Gemma, which then ultimately leads to her friends demise. Now, Heidi has only two choices left – to push through with Savage Run or stay with her father until he sends her to a new Master.
Disguised as a boy named Joseph, Heidi finds assurance, faith and hope through Arthor, a childhood friend, and Nicholas & Mai, two registrars who know her secret. And then there’s Johnny, a fellow contender who is cunning and pure evil in every sense of word.
I got really hooked with this story. Heidi ‘s complicated & perilous journey to become a Master is besieged with tortures, taunts, insults, harassment and death traps. I find lumps in my throat as the story progresses. The world Heidi lives and believes in is a far cry from the world we are living today. Author E.J. Squires had captivated me from start to finish, and in between the turns and twists. I couldn’t wait until I get to the next book – the book that will further make Heidi the ultimate heroine that we are waiting for!