A Grey Sun (book 1 in the Denounced Series) starts with Ned facing execution for being Denounced: “In less than an hour, my life will end.” It’s a gripping start; it’s always emotional to read about a character who knows their own death is imminent. The guard, Jack, gives some comfort to Ned, but the details we are given as readers are still grim; the plastic ties used to bind his hands followed by the thought “They say you get buried in them”. Then Ned finds himself being kidnapped from his execution and is taken somewhere unexpected.
In the new place, the people (all denounced like Ned), are placed into Pods. They are told their pods will be their “family” and they are expected to do everything together. Those who pass the tests they are set will be granted their freedom, which is all any of them want.
Ned is a cynical character. He has been hardened by his life experiences to this point and refuses to let the others in. He doesn’t want a new family:
“The word family makes me want to rage. I had a family once but they are all dead and gone.”
Ned protests his own innocence of the crime he is accused of, but he is sure all those around him are guilty. He is very judgemental and not open to considering other people’s opinions. His Pod don’t work well together at first. They don’t communicate well, they don’t like each other. It takes them a while to work out that they need to “work together, be a functioning family” in order to succeed, but until they can trust each other and open up, Ned’s Pod will keep coming bottom on the scoreboard.
Can Ned and his team mates start working together to be successful?
Honestly, if you’re a fan of YA dystopia, then you need to read this. Dystopia is my favourite genre and I loved this book. I’m really looking forward to more in this series.