Rating: 4.75 stars
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For a brief moment, Brooklyn held freedom in her hands. She and Gabriel, Dawson, and Porter, and even Julian, Kirin, Amber, Charlie and Rayce, had escaped from Isolation. She had her her lovers and herself and her friends all together with no guards, doctors, scientists, restraints, collars, or locked doors. But the moment ended, leaving them with more wounds, more casualties, and Porter and Charlie retaken by Isolation. Brooklyn went through so much just to find love in the midst of the pain and terror and rage and she’s not going to let Isolation take it from her. She is an Omen, a harbinger of death and vengeance, and she is going to get Porter back, and then she’s going to destroy Isolation.
Porter is the twin brother of Kirin, the genetically modified monster Isolation used to create the Omen Virus that was then given to specially chosen and cultivated children in order to turn them into lethal killing machines. Porter was supposed to be the control, the son of the director of Isolation, but … he fell in love. With Dawson and Gabriel and, of course, Brooklyn. Three of the most successful Omens, the more lethal of all the children Isolation hoped to turn into killing machines. He knows they’ll come to get him; he only has to wait, and endure, and live.
Julian isn’t strong, like the others. He’s more emotionally fragile, not as physically fit, but he’s so very in love with Kirin. He’s finally found that one thing he’s willing to kill for and die for: Kirin, who has been locked away and studied, tortured, and ‘harvested’ for his blood and tissue; Kirin who wants to go back and free his brother; Kirin who is willing to sacrifice himself for everyone else, knowing that he may well be the monster Isolation believes him to be. For Kirin, Julian will find the courage to open his heart to love and all it means because, like Brooklyn, Julian isn’t going to let Isolation take the person he loves away from him.
This is the third and final book in the Isolation series and should not be read as a stand-alone. In the past two books, we’ve been mostly focused on Brooklyn’s story as she went from a cautious, reactionary, and uncertain young woman to a violent, angry, and wrathful killer trained by Isolation to kill anything and anyone. Including and especially clones of herself and those she cared for who were, in a way, victims as much as she was. Brooklyn stopped caring about anyone but herself, Gabriel, Dawson, and Porter. She put everything into that love, grounding herself with her three lovers … and Isolation took one of them away from her, the one she holds onto the hardest in order to preserve the remnants of her own humanity.
In this book we get to see Brooklyn become what Isolation wanted her to be: death, in human form. But Brooklyn isn’t, strictly speaking, death. She’s wrath, filled with anger and violence and with no loyalty to the people who did this to her. While she did want to destroy Isolation in the previous books, that want was a minor thing compared to her need to just get away and be with those she loved. In taking Porter, they set the final flame to the pyre of rage and anger that is Brooklyn’s new self, and like a phoenix rising from the ashes, she’s going to burn the world to ash.
Gabriel is oil to Brooklyn’s fire, more mutable, more inclined to wait for the fight to start rather than starting it, herself. But where Brooklyn goes, Gabriel will follow with knives drawn and eager for blood. Dawson, in another life, would have been a gentle man with a family and friends. Isolation took his gentleness away, but he still managed to find a family for himself. While other Omens look to him to be a leader, Dawson finds himself, more and more, looking to Brooklyn. Like Gabriel he needs to spark of Brooklyn’s flame to ignite his true, murderous potential. Porter held them together, Porter let them be quiet and whole … and he’s gone. These three Omens are the greatest successes of Isolation; the virus took root in them and the further training they were given only honed their natural talents. Kirin never had a normal life to mourn, these three have. They know what they lost.
Kirin was, as a child, locked away into a lab to be tested, studied, and tormented by his father’s cold, indifferent visits. He’s been told he’s a monster — and he is. Kirin is a manipulative killing machine. He is the Omen Virus in its purest form. He kills with no remorse because he has had no emotion other than pain or fear or hatred in him, until Julian. Julian who loves him, Julian who weeps for him, bleeds for him, who would do anything for him. Unfortunately, Kirin’s scenes are few between and often with Julian; it’s only when he’s confronting his father that we get to see behind the curious, blank, and sweet face he shows the world. I would have so much liked to have seen more of Kirin.
Julian and Kirin have a strange relationship, both of them so emotionally needy. Julian is, well, weak. He’s not as strong as the others. He’s more of a follower, but when push comes to shove, he is an Omen and has neither shame nor guilt in killing anyone to get to Kirin. Kirin has been starved of affection and humanity for all of his life and in Julian he has someone who loves him. He craves that, feeds on it, and their bond is … a little unhealthily obsessive. To balance that out the author introduces Nicoli, a thirty-two-year old freedom fighter who has no difficulty in seducing a fragile Julian when Kirin is away. To be honest, I found Nicoli a bit skeezy. Brooklyn, Julian, Kirin, and the others are 18, 19 and maybe 20. Nicoli is thirty two. An adult knowingly and deliberately making moves on a frightened child whose lover is planning on sacrificing himself so that Julian and the others can live. I don’t think Nicoli is a bad man, but I, personally, found the age difference and behavior to be both slightly predatory and a bit uncomfortable. If he’d been in his early 20s, or even mid-20s, I don’t think I would have had as much of a problem with it. But, those are the only two sour notes in this book, for me: Not enough Kirin, and Nicoli.
My favorite scene occurs near the end of the book when Brooklyn is dealing with John, a scientist who has helped make them what they are, who is bargaining for his life by offering to graciously give them their freedom. It shows how far Brooklyn has come and was, I have to say, a very satisfying scene.
There are several different POVs in this book and the story goes from one to the next very quickly. The writing, which I have always liked in this series, has gotten a bit more poetic and can edge a bit into florid, but for the most part I enjoyed the descriptions, the subtle pauses, and some of the beautiful imagery. I always regret reading the final book in a series, especially when I have been enjoying the story so much, but this was a fitting end to the Isolation Series.