When Clementine Dracone accidentally incinerates her room in a fit of anger, she is shipped from the Vanguard Academy to the Mandate Academy within the Sophisticate program. Sophisticates are genetically altered at birth to be smarter, faster and better than the normal human. Within this program, they’re divided into two sects: the Vanguards and the Mandates. The Vanguards are the intellectuals and this is where Cleo was learning languages and computer programming. The Mandates are the militaristic branch of Sophiscates. Their training revolves around weapons, fitness and strategy.
Cleo knows she doesn’t belong with the other Mandates. However, this strange new ability that she has makes her different from almost all the other Sophisticates. Upon her arrival at the Mandate Academy, she makes quick friends with Arabella and Sterling, and a nemesis out of Quinnie. Cleo slowly becomes acquainted with the way Mandate academy works. While she doesn’t succeed in my aspects of the training, she finds a place for herself in roller derby with Arabella and working in the library as part of her work detail.
Every time I’d pick up the story, I was immediately sucked into it. I didn’t want to put the book down! I loved seeing Cleo learn more about the Mandate school and grow close to Arabella and Sterling. Arabella was definitely my second favorite. I loved her fiercely vicious attitude and her ever changing hair colors. The rivalry between Cleo and Quinnie was pretty stupid though and probably my only real annoyance. Quinnie was the stereotypical mean popular girl and it was cliche, even if it did add some tension.
Ozzy was an interesting piece of the puzzle. I never knew if Cleo could fully trust him. I liked their relationship, even if it was convoluted at times. My favorite part of the story was seeing Cleo come to the realization about her powers, how she has them and why she has them. The ending was really intense as well and I think there’s going to be a whole new slew of problems in book 2 which I’m looking forward to reading!