Whisper by Lynette Noni
Whisper book 1, Pantera Press, 2018. ISBN: 9781925700992.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. 2019 Gold Inky Award Winner. Themes: Dystopian fiction, Psychic ability. Winning Australia's only YA award completely selected by teenagers, gives a good idea of the appeal of Whisper not just to teens but to anyone who enjoys a fast paced dystopian story with a great heroine at its heart. 'For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six-Eight-Four - 'Jane Doe' - has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.' (Publisher). Then she is given to Landon Ward, a young compassionate man, for evaluation and things begin to change as she gradually meets more people in Lengard and begins to understand what is happening in this cold forbidding underground fortress.
The reader's attention is immediately grabbed right from the first page as the plight of 'Jane Doe' is described in a first person narrative and this raises questions of why she has been silent for so long and why she believes she is a monster. The fact that she is in a cramped cell and has been tortured also leaves the reader wondering just what she has done to deserve this fate. However as the story develops the reader begins to empathise with her and hope that her relationship with Ward will be a fruitful one and that she can break her silence.
The setting of Lengard under Centre Point Tower in Sydney and the descriptions of catacombs under Taronga Park Zoo and the streets of Sydney make for an atmospheric background to the story. A scary evil genius, a group of Resistance fighters who have amazing powers, wonderful moments of female friendship as well as some unexpected plot twists and action make for a very exciting read which I had to finish in one sitting.
The cliff-hanger at its conclusion will ensure that readers pick up the next in this thrilling read and they may want to visit the Medoran chronicles, with the first in the series, Arkarnae, reviewed on ReadPlus.