Like a cold hand massaging my brain I feel Roman infiltrate further and all of a sudden, my eyes lose sight of the room.
I’m sitting at a small white table. The room is bare except for a clock above the door and a one-way glass window. Sitting at the table with me are three children.
“It’s us,” I whisper.
“Of course it is.” Roman’s voice sounds even closer than before, and even more drained. I look in the direction of his voice and see him sitting on the floor, his knees propped up, his hands clasped. His arms reach out, his wrists lazily resting on his knees. Something is different. He smiles. It’s soft. “Listen,” he says to me.
“This is so boring,” little Roy knocks down a 3D puzzle. “I’ve already put this stupid thing together five different ways.”
A pop crackles through the speaker overhead and a voice comes through. “That’s better than other people, Roy. Most adults can only assemble it one way. There are many who can’t put it together at all.”
I don’t recognize the voice, but I’m sure it’s Lobb. Or the other doctor that Reggie always talks about. Dryer.
“It’s still dumb.”
The voice trailed through the speaker again with an interruption in the feed. “Do you all need a break?”
“Yes, please,” the young Reggie speaks up politely.
At that, the door opens and the children, including myself, stand up and walk out. When we leave the room, a woman with a large set of white teeth grins at us. Her eyes are a dark coffee brown. Her hair, midnight russet and shining with gloss. I remember the lipstick. She always wore red lipstick the shade of strawberries. The smell of mint. She always smelled like mint.
Miss Mandy’s not much younger than I am. Well, my adult self. “Do you want recess time?” she asks.
My head nods involuntarily and I speak up. It’s a young voice. No accent. Innocent, but impatient. “Duh, Miss Mandy.” I smile.
The woman laughs and pats my head. “Come on, sweetie.”
She cares for me. Maybe all of us. I feel it. I remember it.
Miss Mandy leads us down a brightly polished white walkway. It’s wide. Simple. I can hear conversations happening in another room. Through another glass door is a small area of grass. Maybe the size of a fighting ring.
“Can you stay, Miss Mandy?” I ask.
She shakes her head, a shaking smile on her face. I remember wondering why she looked so sad. “I have to go back and help Ethan and Dr. Lobb. But I’ll bring you out some sandwiches when I’m finished. Have fun, Rans.”
I grin and run to join up with Roy and Roman. I can feel my desire to play with Reggie is lacking. She’s too serious and it bugs me. I almost want to smile at that thought. Not a lot has changed over the years we’ve been apart, I see.
“I really wish I could go home with Miss Mandy,” I say offhand to Roy. “She was telling me yesterday about her dog. His name’s Sergeant Pepper. Plus, she has a boyfriend named Quinn.”
“Why does that matter?” Roy lifts an eyebrow and kicks around a black and white ball. He splits into his duplicate and they both take turns kicking it back and forth before Roman slides in and kicks it away. Roy rushes over and steals the ball again, keeping it from Roman.
“Because they’re like a family. I just think that would be fun.”
“Family?” Roy Two bolts forward and kicks the ball directly back to Roy One, glaring at Roman who is looking more frustrated.
“We’re kind of a family, right?” Roman jumps in. “I mean, I’m your actual brother. I think that’s better.”
“It’s not the same,” I fold my arms.
“Just because we don’t have a fluffy dog?” Roy teases.
“Sergeant Pepper is a greyhound. So, he’s not fluffy, stupid.”
“Whatever,” he shrugs
Roman runs forward and steals the ball away, but for only a split second. Roy takes it back and kicks it back and forth between his duplicate. I can see the anger growing in Roman’s face, which is turning a brilliant shade of red. He’s going to start yelling soon.
“Guys?” We all turn our heads at the sound of Reggie’s voice. She looks tired. Like she just had a vision.
“What, Weirdo?” Roy pants, picking up the ball and twisting away from Roman. His duplicate folds his arms.
She glances to the side and doesn’t answer. She is kind of a weirdo. “At least she’s not my sister,” I elbow Roy in the side.
“Reggie?” Roman narrows his eyes and walks toward her. “What is it?”
She looks up at him and if I’m right, I can see a flicker of hate in her eyes. “We can’t stay together.”
“What?” Roy laughs.
“They’re . . . they’re not telling us the truth.”
“Who?” I ask, feeling the annoyance of my younger self.
“Dr. Lobb. Dr. Dryer.” She continues to watch Roman carefully. The focus in their eyes tells me they’re communicating. I hate when they leave us out.
“She’s right,” he agrees.
I feel the images around me start to thin out and I look around. The walls of the underground bunker are bleeding through. Reggie and her small bed are hazy, but they faintly show through the fabric of this past reality. Roman is losing his grip on my mind. He can’t keep showing me the past. But it’s enough. I remember he’s controlling it. I have to get out.
Immediately, I swivel back and start sprinting for the fence. My feet beat against the grass, the air swirls in my long childhood hair, and using the full force of my small body, I break through the wood. Splinters shoot in every direction. The grass falls out beneath my feet and the air fragments into a million shards, all exploding out from around me.
My eyes burst open and I take a deep breath of the cold air of the bunker.
Dominion is the fourth book and final book in The Enertia Trials series. It cannot be read as a stand alone.
I love dystopian novels. There’s something about imagining how the world progresses that is really interesting to me. How does a dysfunctional species move forward? Probably dysfunctionally.
In this future, the struggle is to maintain your humanity against a government that wants control and perfection. No matter the cost. I liked how the people created to emphasize this perfection are the ones who ultimately fight against it. I’ve always liked the idea that what we aim to control is usually what destroys us.
There are three books of build up, leading to this conclusion. Each book builds to not just the plot, but the world at large, making this a very complex story. Each character gets an added layer, so by the end, you are attached to them.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. You can really see the writing develop from one book to the next.
This is a fast paced, fun read, with a satisfying ending.
Grab your copy tomorrow!
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by the author.