Mika and his twin Ellie live in a future world divided by a huge wall built to keep animals riven with plague from infecting the human population. London has become a dual-layer city housing a divided populace, the poor crammed into The Shadows under the glittering Turrets of the elite. Ellie is mysteriously kidnapped and Mika finds himself involved in a deadly training based on computer simulations, leading to an unimaginable future.
I found the story engaging and gripping, with an originality to its dystopian view, picking up on various current real-life themes. The use of competition to develop a certain ruthlessness in Mika, the desperation of a people deprived of home comforts or even real food, the proliferation of fakery; all ring true to a degree. However, the book is very long and the last fifty pages feel rushed and summarised, especially as there is no real conclusion or resolution. Instead we are left needing the sequel instantly.
I feel that Clayton, in this her first novel, could have been better served by her editor; with tighter control over plot and style this could have been a real winner.