Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Rhiannon Lassiter
For ages 13 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2011   ISBN: 978-1442429291

In the twenty-first century humans were enamored by their machines and gadgets. They wanted to connect with their technology on a deeper level, and to advance as a species as their machines advanced. To this end they began to experiment with human genetics to see if humans could be genetically engineered so that they would be able to unite with their machines. They never considered what the consequences of such a unity could mean. Until it was too late.   

   Humans carrying a mutant gene, the Hex gene, were born who could indeed communicate with computers, phones, and other devices. The powers that be then realized that these human mutants would be able to hack into any machine, and they decided that Hexes were dangerous. So dangerous in fact that they could not be allowed to live.

   For over two hundred and fifty years Hexes have been sought out and destroyed. All children are tested, and if they show signs of being a Hex, operatives from the Center for Paranormal Studies (CPS) comes and gets them and they are exterminated. When orphans Raven and Wraith were still quite young their younger sister Rachel was adopted and taken away from the orphanage where they all grew up. Wraith kept track of his little sister’s whereabouts for a while, and then he lost track of her. Now he and his sister Raven have come to London looking for Rachel.

   The world Raven and Wraith live in is truly a world of the haves and the have nots. In the upper levels of the towering buildings in London, the rich live in comfort, traveling from place to place in comfortable flying flitters. Closer to the ground, two miles down, gangs rule, and only people with a death wish visit their territories. While visiting one of these areas, Wraith meets a boy called Kez, who ends up joining the siblings in their quest.

   Raven is a very powerful Hex and she finds out that Rachel did indeed come to London, but that she was then taken away from her adoptive parents by the CPS, presumably because she showed signs of being a Hex. When Raven tries to find out if Rachel was terminated she discovers that some of the young Hexes taken in by the CPS are not killed. Instead, they are taken to a secret location. Unfortunately, Raven’s formidable ability to travel from computer to computer over the net using her mind cannot help her find out more about this facility. It is cut off from the world. The only thing to do is to get someone into the facility.

   With the help of another young Hex called Ali, this is just what Raven and Wraith do. Ali is able to find Rachel, and she also finds out that the Hexes who are brought to the facility are being experimented on and tortured. Rachel’s brain has been subjected to so much that the poor girl has been permanently damaged.

   Raven and Wraith and their allies are able to rescue Rachel, Ali and a few other Hexes. What they learn about the facility makes Wraith realize that the appalling treatment of Hexes cannot be allowed to continue without protest. Someone has to stand on the side of what is right, and he is willing to combine forces with a terrorist group who is fighting against the oppressive and corrupt European Federation. Perhaps together they can bring about change for the better.

   In this book readers will visit a future world that we can only hope does not lie in our future. Governments are corrupt and self-serving, which means that only a select few get to live comfortable lives. Most people have to struggle to get by, and many others barely survive at all. Then there are the Hexes, whom many don’t consider to be truly human. This is the world that Wriath, Raven and their friends are trying to change, and watching them fight for what they think is right is both uplifting and painful. Readers will quickly enter Wraith and Raven’s world, and as the story unfolds they will see how these characters, and others, change and adapt, evolve and grow.