Review: The Murder Complex

The Murder Complex
The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is author Lindsay Cumming’s debut title. It is vicious. It is bloody. It is fast-paced. It is…a little confusing.
Overall, I liked it and I look forward to reading the prequel book when it’s available and also to reading the next installments to see if my questions are answered.

There is A LOT going on in this book. So much so that for me, the romance, or…I’m really not even sure what to call the relationship…was kind of lost. Or rushed. Or something. It was actually the most shallow part of the storyline for me.

Overall, I felt like The Murder Complex a mash-up of Delirium (Lauren Oliver), Eve (Anna Carey), The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), Legend (Marie Lu), Divergent (Veronica Roth), and a few others, BUT with a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming!

The characters were well-defined with a wide arc of emotions that we get to experience. The lower characters, I have a feeling, will be important in later installments and we’ll get an expansion on their characters then.

The love story between the two main character, Meadow and Zephyr, felt forced and unbelievable. There was no build up to it, so when they did finally meet, it wasn’t very exciting. I was a little bummed. From the cover, you could probably guess that they have conflicting goals. Zephyr leans in to kiss Meadow and then tries to strangle her. This really isn’t a spoiler. You know it’s going to happen at some point. Also, Meadow gets tattooed by her brother (“Fearless” on her arm, though we never hear anything about the tattoo again…no mention from new people she meets) with ink and a fishhook. It was painful…for me.

I got a little confused by the setting. It was set in such a small area. I’m sure, just like all other dystopian series, we will “go outside the gate!” in future installments. Since a certain character has just been taken that way, it’s most certain to happen.

The plot was original in that the base problem, or reason for the new dystopian system, was a new idea that I hadn’t read before. Basically, The Murder Complex is a system designed to solve the problem of over population. No one was dying, but babies were still being born. Now, I’ll let you read the book to get the nitty gritty on how the system works, but I’ve just got to stop here and say: WTF? What crazy people in the world would EVER go for a system like that?! It was so far off base that it was almost inconceivable. What it was good for was creating an interesting Jekyll & Hyde meets Roman Gladiators scenario. It was also good for a lot of blood and gore. If you’re antsy about blood, guts, corpses, violence, etc….this is not the book for you, though I’m probably guessing you would figure that out based solely on the title.

I’m sad to say that by 1/3 of the way through the book, I had it pretty much figured out. The mother’s role, what I think the father’s role really is, what the system is, etc. What I did not see coming was THE ENDING! I left the book with a smile because it is really, really, REALLY rare that I don’t see a twist coming. I was excited that I got so caught off guard! The happy (not really) family ends in quite a predicament. The plot leaves us with a cliffhanger ending, but not a terrible one. I thought it was a really terrific place to end, actually.

Overall, it was a good book. I look forward to future installments because I generally feel like the first in the series is so devoted to setting, plot, character building. I was left with a few questions that weren’t answered though, including religion (they believe in an afterlife, but there are no references to worshipping anything besides the ruling Initiative, though there are never any “worship” times), love (I’ll say it again…this isn’t love. Meadow hasn’t even met another guy. I felt nothing for their relationship, and I want to! I need a love ladder or something in the next installment so that I can figure it out…maybe after dwelling on it for a while it will come to me), world events (did the Plague cover the world? What happened to everything else? If this turns into a testing site like Divergent, I WILL SCREAM AND NEVER EVER EVER READ DYSTOPIAN AGAIN! I will have completely lost faith in the entire genre). Biggest of all for me, why is everything “Pre-Fall” banned? I couldn’t figure this out. There was never any reason given for the Pre-Fall items to pose a threat to the current form of society).

There were a few things that stood out as painfully annoying that I just need to mention:
1) “my moonlit girl” sounds like something so poetic and werewolfish that it would be more fitting in [b:Shiver|6068551|Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)|Maggie Stiefvater||6244926].
2) “flux” is obviously a stand-in for another word. It’s in this book a bazillion times. Which means that by the third time, I was just throwing the f* bomb every time I read it. It was something so childish of Zephyr’s character that it made no sense. Same for “skitz.” Was the author trying to curb my language? It didn’t work. I just replaced that made-up word with the one it was obviously meant to be. It was annoying.
3) there were more mentions of Zephyr trying to get the word “stars” to catch one (to be used in place of damn) than there were of Meadow’s tattoo.

If you like classic, textbook dystopian, you won’t be disappointed by The Murder Complex. It didn’t bore me and I got through it in a day. If you’re tired of reading the same thing over and over again in dystopian, you should maybe leave this one on the shelf. So many attributes link it to other series that you’ll probably get confused (trains, tattoos, controlled fighters, programming, main character thinks mother is dead–she’s not… the list goes on).

The book comes out June 10th, so add it to your TBR list!

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