Summary: Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, a self-described “million-dollar murder machine,” is a rising star in ExOps, a covert-action agency that aggressively shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany, and the Nationalist Republic of China. Rather than risk another all-out war, the four superpowers have poured their resources into creating superspies known as Levels.
Alix is one of the hottest young American Levels. That’s no surprise: Her dad was America’s top Level before he was captured and killed eight years ago. But when an impulsive decision explodes—literally—in her face, Alix uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to her limits and could upset the global balance of power forever.
Review: A spy thriller with an incredibly annoying and impulsive teenager as a super special agent.
First and foremost, this is not a young adult novel. It can be construed as a young adult novel due to the age of the protagonist and the summary, but it's not. This book is chock full of violence (some descriptions actually made me a bit queasy and that takes a lot), swear words, and mentions of sex. It was a surprise since I had been expecting a young adult novel. So be warned.
That aside, I hated Alix. I wanted to punch her so many times during this novel. She is supposed to be a great super secret agent, but is impulsive, lets her emotions take control of her, uses wildly inappropriate ammo and violence, and manages to mess up her missions very badly. Alix also expects her boyfriend to let her win in card games. Alix would make the worst secret agent or special forces member. I keep contrasting her to Black Widow and Ripley, women who were kick ass, extremely competent, in control of their emotions, and did not have to resort to loud attention and tons of violence to try to prove how amazing they were.
I did like the alternate history although the articles and reports (aka info dumps) did get a little much. It is a fascinating world that Almasi created and pretty scary too. I cannot imagine a world like the one that Alix lives in. The cloning was an interesting aspect, especially the implications of cloning. I like the setting well enough although I wish there was a different protagonist.
Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that are fans of spy thrillers and action novels that do not mind a lot of violence and cursing.