“The White List” – Nina D’Aleo

The White List

The White List’ is a fun book. I love in the description, it says if you join Chapter 11 you can’t ever leave. It reminded me of ‘Hotel California,’ ” You can check in any time you like but you can’t ever leave.” It has other allusions to the devil and Hell but not in a fire and brimstone way. This book is set in an alternate timeline of America in a city called Toran-R. Chapter 11 has an agency in every corner of the world that watches and controls the third of the population that have a genetic mutation giving them uncontrollable strength called’ Shaman Syndrome’.

Silver and Dark are agents of Chapter 11. They are friends that are as close as family: the kind that forgive the questionable and antisocial traits our casual acquaintances avoid and we hide from them. Agency directive states that lethal force must be taken if a ‘walt’ (someone breaking out with Shaman Syndrome) causes a danger and can not be ‘recapped’ (shaman syndrome behaviors subdued and memory of breakthrough erased.) Silver refuses to use lethal force and is looked down upon by her superiors. Even at a secret government agency there are cubicles and middle management that pushes paperwork off on you. Even worse you are forced to endure monthly performance reviews. This a weird combination of the boring trials of an office job and secret government intrigue.

The character development appears weak in the beginning with a secret agent woman who lives at home with her parents and her eleven cats. She wants to meet “the guy” and get married. Her partner is a tough Italian that grew up in an abusive household. He has trouble expressing emotions, is happy with shallow relationships, and makes inappropriate juvenile jokes. Nina D’Aleo impressed me by tying these character aspects to the story arc.

Her world building was a bit weak. It is supposed to be a future or alternate timeline but very little is different from our current world. She tied in new terminology for Chapter 11 very well but there was little description to cars, neighborhoods, or homes that connected you to a different timeline. It, however, did not disrupt an enjoyable action packed story. This wasn’t a dystopian love triangle, and it wasn’t an excuse to say the future was terrible with an awe inspiring political message. What it was is a well thought out but a light character driven science fiction novel. The last half really picks up and keeps you in suspense. I enjoyed it and I recommend you read it. This is one I would give as a gift.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


About Steph

As C. S. Lewis said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” I am an indiscriminate reader. I can find a way to enjoy almost all books. I find they are like people – you can find something endearing in almost every one of them. I love to write reviews. I hope you enjoy them and find them useful. View all posts by Steph

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