The story begins with Griffin, the only albino still alive, saving Tassta before she inadvertently gets caught by Guild Faction members. After they part ways, he runs into Tassta's twin brother, Penn, who knocks him out with a rock and takes him back to their Uncle at the Brotherhood Fortress. Griffin has special powers - and there is also a legend about an albino saving them all from the Guild. Griffin wants to go back home to the Underground, where he he lives with his best friend, his best friend's daughter, and lots of children (who need him), but he also wants to stay with Tassta (who he is falling for) and Penn (who he is becoming friends with).
This is a really cool dystopian story. There is adventure and very interesting characters and a storyline that is different and fun. The characters were well written and the physical descriptions are well done and helpful, making it easy to see the person in your mind's eye. Same with the physical descriptions of the settings. A lot of authors fall flat on this, but Kirsten does a really good job.
Sometimes I think that authors are so intent on writing a good story that they miss out on the bigger picture (which is where a good editor comes in handy). You (this is where I say "you, but not YOU" - in this case, YOU are one of the yous I'm talking to) are telling me a story about characters that you want me to relate to, become close to, bond with ... with an adventure (or mystery, or horror, or relationship...) that you want me to understand and become a part of ... and yet there are things that some of you do that make this problematic and sometimes even impossible. Let me use an example from this particular book: At the beginning of the book, there is a page of name pronunciations (very cool). Throughout the book, people are referred to by both names, while others are referred to by one. Uncle Lerin goes back and forth between that and Lerin Sanctobus, his full name being unnecessary after the first time. If you have to keep reminding me of who they are - and refuse to allow us to become (and remain on) a first name basis with your characters - how am I supposed to feel that I know them, that I am there with them throughout the story? Personally, I find it awkward and think it takes away from the flow of the story. (Another issue I had, which may have just been a personal thing with me, was the fact that things were repetitive, mentioned several times in different ways in the span of a few paragraphs i.e. we know that the bag holds a surprise Penn brought back from the raid. It doesn't have to be reiterated or defined every time. We get it and this takes away from the flow of the story as well.)
Despite that, I enjoyed reading this very much and can't wait to read more from this author.
Favorite character: Griffin. He is intense and interesting and different. I want to know more about him. I also like Penn.
Least favorite character: Tassta. Which is unfortunate. I like her in the beginning of the story, but was completely turned off of her after she and Griffin spoke in his room for the first time. She had been so interested in learning more about him, had all these questions for him, but when she had the opportunity to ask them, she didn't - and, even worse, she made him think she was uninterested when he was telling her more about himself and where he lived. She also wanted to be so mature and independent - and at times she was - but sometimes really failed at being either.
Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. No other consideration was offered, expected or received.