Book Review: Seneca Rebel by Rayya Deeb

by - 11:54:00 PM

Title: Seneca Rebel
Author: Rayya Deeb
Pages: 340
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Release Date: 01 June 2016 

From Goodreads: "What if your one chance to change the world means you have to leave everything you love behind? In the not-too-distant future, math genius Doro Campbell is introduced to the Seneca Society: a secretive, technologically-advanced subterranean utopia dedicated to inventing and perfecting the most effective ways to benefit our planet. But there’s a hitch. Like all that have come before her, Doro is given the ultimatum: Stay in Seneca forever, or leave now with no memory of the place, its goals, and its inhabitants. 

She stays.

Her ideals are shattered when, together with biotechnology whiz, Dominic Ambrosia, Doro uncovers profound deceptions beneath the surface of this all too-perfect community. Will one teenage girl have what it takes to go up against swarms of drones, psychological manipulation and biological attacks, to uncover the truth and change the trajectory of the world?"

Thank you to YA Bound Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review.

Seneca Rebel immediately caught my attention with its beautiful cover and curious title. Once I read the synopsis, I was hooked. It's no secret that I'm a fan of science fiction and dystopian books, so this one was a definite win for me. While it may not be typical dystopian, the book definitely gives off a very dystopian vibe with the underground city and research into the betterment of humanity, among other things. Once I actually sat down and started reading, I absolutely flew through this book!

Doro is a math genius who is caught by the FBI for breaking the algorithm for every major gambling site in the world and setting up offshore accounts for her winnings. When the FBI shows up at her door, so does Ellen Malone. She offers Doro a chance to put her skills to good use at Seneca, a technologically-advanced underground society dedicated to finding ways to protect and advance the planet. It's a dream come true when Doro first arrives, but then she's given an ultimatum: stay in Seneca and leave behind her friends and family, or leave and have her memory completely wiped of her time in the city. She chooses to stay. But after being in Seneca for a while, she begins to realize that it's not all that she thought it would be. With a mysterious biotechnology whiz named Dom, Doro discovers there is more than meets the eye to Seneca, and sets out to change the course of Seneca forever.

This book was an interesting one. While I absolutely loved the premise, and really liked how the book played out, I was not a fan of the instant-romance. I mean, Doro sees this guy for the first time and becomes obsessed with him to the point of almost stalking him. I really liked the idea of a super smart female main character, but not one that gets jelly legs about a guy she's never even talked to before. I understand that a lot of YA books have a tendency to have insta-love, so when it happened, I wasn't too surprised, but I kind of wish that if it had to happen, that it was a bit of a "slow burn" love. Also, they don't spend hardly any time together and when they get separated, she acts as if a piece of her soul has been ripped out. Slightly dramatic, but that may just be my personal feelings on it. Even though the romance was meh, Doro thankfully still ended up being a pretty strong character and was able to use her super cool code writing and hacking skills to do some really nifty things!

Despite my dislike of the romance between Doro and Dom, I liked the characters individually. Doro was a math genius and Dom was into biotechnology, and I am all about the science stuff! Following them through the story and reading about them putting their individual skills to good use, whether it was hacking into something or testing blood, was really cool. I felt like Doro was able to really expand her knowledge and learn more and really evolved on her own as the book went on. Dom felt a little flat on his own, but his desire to do good no matter what with his skills really made me have a soft spot for him!

The plot of the book was really unique and one I haven't come across. I liked the idea of an underground city that was basically a utopia, simply because I knew there would be more to it than was on its surface. Of course, there was! I don't want to give too much away, but there are some definite "cultish" signs that are pretty much everywhere in Seneca. The city itself isn't a cult, but boy oh boy does it feel like one. From controlling government circa 1989, to "necessary vaccinations," Seneca gives off some incredibly cult-like vibes. And I ate up every single bit of it!

I'm not sure if it's just me, but I got a very Wizard of Oz feeling from this book. Not only because the main character is named Dorothy, but she also has a dog, travels to a city that is pretty much too good to be true, makes some quirky friends along the way, and is judged at the end by the leader of Seneca. I can't be the only one making the connection, right? Even if I am, that just made me love the story even more. It was so creative, and very well executed, and I couldn't put it down once I got started!

With the super smart female main character, some really subtle 1989 and Wizard of Oz vibes, and really cool science thrown in there, Seneca Rebel is a recipe for a stellar science-fiction novel. Not only was this book fast-paced and action filled, the ending is a really killer cliffhanger! I am crossing my fingers for a sequel because I am dying to know what happens next! If you're looking for a wild science-fiction book with some really detailed and engaging writing, then Seneca Rebel is the book for you!

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