Author: Sarah Harian
Series: Chaos Theory #1
Published by: Penguin
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.
If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.
Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.
She doesn’t plan on making friends.
She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.
When I first saw The Wicked We Have Done, I thought it was going to be more of a dystopian. I’ve strayed away from those lately, but this book sounded too good to pass up. Turns out this isn’t really a dystopian. Instead, it’s more of a sci-fi-horror-thriller NA, which made me very happy. This book was a fast paced thrill ride that had me completely captivated from beginning to end.
I like how we are given a black and white assessment of the characters in the beginning, judging them to be evil because they have killed. As we get to know them and the circumstances behind their crimes, we discover that sometimes those lines can blurred turning good and bad into a puddle of grey. Because you kill someone, does that mean you have no morals, are automatically unredeemable? This is what The Wicked We Have Done explores, but in a terrifying way. Small groups of murderers have been offered the chance to go into the Compass Room instead of going straight to the death penalty. Except, the Compass Room itself is a death penalty if you are deemed evil. If you make it out alive, then you are set free. Through technology, each prisoner faces tests that accurately measure morality. However, the odds of them making it out are slim.
This is told from Evalyn’s perspective, so she is the character we really get to connect with. When we’re introduced to her, all we know is that she is guilty of a horrendous crime. Everyone is confident that she won’t last long in the Compass Room, because how could someone who did what she did have any morals? Even she doesn’t expect to make it long because she knows she is guilty. As the story progresses, we get to know and understand her better. We also get short flashbacks of incidences that lead up to her crime, and then the crime itself. It’s truly gut-wrenching and heart breaking at times. The author did a great job of showing the kind of person Evalyn is and the love she had for the people in her life. She was a great character: complex, intelligent, and strong. How could I not love her?
However, anytime I’m introduced to more than three characters at once, my mind goes a little numb and I don’t even attempt to connect with any of them at first. So when we get nine right off the bat, I knew I just needed to let it play out and adjust to everyone. Granted, not all of them are there to connect with, so I waited for the herd to thin. Over the course of the book, most of them ended up sticking with me, but there were five I really cared about. Of those five there was one besides Evalyn I really connected with and not going to lie, developed a little girl-crush on. Valarie is an in-your-face-doesn’t-take-crap kind of girl. I loved her!
All of these criminals thrust into the same area trying to survive the elements, each other, and their individual tests is definitely a thrilling ride. Then the threats are amplified when the Compass Room doesn’t seem to be following the rules. No one is safe. There is a bit of a romance, but it isn’t overpowering. I was kind of indifferent to it, though. It wasn’t bad, I just didn’t feel much about it one way or another. That’s just my own taste. I was much more interested in the gritty side of the story. Not that there is really a sunshine and lollipops side to it.
I’m glad I gave The Wicked We Have Done a chance, because it pretty much rocked. Sarah Harian did a fabulous job with her debut novel, and now I’m eagerly waiting for the next book, A Vault of Sins. Thankfully, the wait won’t be too long.