Review: “Daughter of Nothing,” Eric Kent Edstrom

Pros: Interesting diversion
Cons: I don’t feel compelled to read more
Rating: 3 out of 5

Eric Kent Edstrom’s Daughter of Nothing (The Scion Chronicles) (Volume 1) investigates an unusual island with an even more unusual group of people living on it. It’s a school for thirty-six children called Scions, with four more (two girls, two boys) arriving on Birthday each year at age nine and graduating at age 18. It’s the first graduating class, and all the children have been told is that the rest of the world is a wasteland and they’re being taught what’s needed to be great leaders. Jacey, age 17, hopes her graduating friend, Sarah, will go on to live a wonderful life, but there’s an awful lot of uncertainty. One of the graduates, Dante, has a plan to allow some of the 17s to overhear via radio what happens when the graduates meet their “Sponsors,” but the results create more questions than answers. It seems as though the children might have met their (supposedly dead) parents–but what happened next, when Dante had to leave the radio behind? Jacey gradually discovers that the school’s headmaster has a creepily intense interest in her, and that she seems to be able to get away with breaking rules without punishments. Can she convince the others that there’s something going on that’s worth risking their ideal existence to figure out?

The characters are… okay. I felt that many of them could have had more depth, particularly among the adults. Even Jacey felt as though she was held at a little bit of a distance, and thus made somewhat bland. The ultimate bad guy was quite one-dimensionally evil. The adults in particular are fairly repugnant.

I wish we’d been able to pick up a bit more of what the outside world is like. We have the barest outline of what the students have been taught, with little reality to hold up to it by the end. I guess we’re supposed to want to read further books in the series in order to find out, but without that context I don’t find that I particularly care that much about the world and what happens to it next.

It took a while for me to get into the book. For quite a while the pace is fairly consistently slow. Eventually it did catch my interest, and the plot managed to deliver a surprise or two for brief periods of time. I also appreciate that Jacey was allowed to retain her strong individuality without being required to romantically pair up with either of the obvious choices.

Ultimately, while I enjoyed reading Daughter of Nothing, I don’t plan to read any follow-ons.

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