"SCAN" by authors Walter Jury and Sarah Fine is a scifi book that reads as fast as a locomotive -- and the action is just as nonstop. Be forewarned before you begin to read -- you won't be able to put it down until the very last page.
The story begins with a common theme. Tate feels pushed to the max by his overprotective, over-demanding father. Of course, the fact that his father is brilliant, educated and driven as well doesn't make it any easier.
Tate speaks many languages, is a master at martial arts, and is accomplished at computer hacking and science. His father has made sure of that with before-school tutoring and after-school classes. Even his meals are weighed and scientifically planned for optimum nutrition.
When Tate breaks into his father's lab (where he develops weapons and other technology) and steals an unusual kind of scanner and takes it to school, all hell breaks loose.
It turns out that aliens infiltrated Earth over 400 years ago. They blend in with humans and have intermarried and basically taken over the planet. There are a few families who know about the alien presence, a group called "The Fifty." Those are families who are determined to keep their bloodline "pure" with no aliens allowed.
Of course, most people don't know they are mostly alien. Except for the human group and an alien group that has gained control of much of the government, no one knows about the two races who coexist on Earth. Anyone who tries to share this information is silenced.
The book includes many scenes that would make for thoughtful classroom discussion. There is the human compound where, because of inbreeding, congenital diseases run rampant. And this community is rabid in its hatred for the "others." Kind of reminiscent of racial issues in our past and, unfortunately, our present.
Others want to see both groups work together in peace. Tate's mother is of this group. It is why she left Tate and his father years before. But when Tate sees his father killed (at the beginning of the story), he turns to his mother for help. And she is more than capable of helping him.
Tate's girlfriend is also caught up in his flight from those seeking to control the scanner. And she turns out to be tough and capable, though not as capable as Tate, who is able to turn seemingly harmless items like Gatorade and hydrogen peroxide into weapons of mass destruction.
The story is gripping and the characters spring to life. The twists and turns, the enemies who perhaps aren't enemies, and the questions about whom to trust make this a story that holds the reader spellbound right to the end. And the ending? You'll be in "can't wait" mode for the next entry.
So why 5-stars? Because I can't wait to know what an orange scan means.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publicist, JKS Communications, for review purposes.
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