Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cipher by Aileen Erin: Book Review

cover from Goodreads
Title: Cipher (Shadow Ravens #1)
Author: Aileen Erin
Published: October 14, 2014 by Ink Monster, LLC
Copy: e-ARC from NetGalley

In the not-too-distant future, the color of your helix tattoo shows exactly how your DNA was modified—green for super-smart scientists, black for pumped-up warriors, white for the immortal Seligo—but Cipher’s red helix is a death sentence. It’s a sign of unstable DNA, which is probably the reason she can manipulate electricity.

When she was eight years old, Cipher made the mistake of showing her uncle the tattoo. In return, he killed her parents and tried to kidnap her.

She’s been on the run ever since, and twelve long years later, Cipher is tired of hiding. Survival isn’t enough anymore. She wants her life back.

Hacking into the Citadel mainframe is a huge risk, but it pays off when she finds a database on red helixes. Before she can copy it, she loses control of her power, charring her last processor, and the only person in the Arizona Voids that can get her back online is her oldest friend, Knightly. She hasn’t seen him in person since she started running, and Knight 2.0 is fully upgraded with a six-pack and knee-melting smile.

For a girl like Cipher, trust doesn’t come easily, but Knight makes her yearn for a life she knows she can’t have, especially when every secret she reveals endangers them both.

It was a short read but really good. The book started with Cipher, the protagonist, hacking the Citadel's mainframe. With it came a vague introduction about the future world they live in, consequently setting the mood and my curiosity of the plot.

The flow of events was smooth, and it sucked me into the story right away. Cipher was fast-paced and has a right mix of action and romance. From the middle up to end though, it can be a bit predictable. And I saw a lot of similarities with other dystopian/sci-fi novels. But despite the similarities, it's still an enjoyable read. Totally entertaining!

Some characters and elements of the story is not yet fully explained and explored but I'm pretty sure they will be covered in the next books.

Cipher is the first book in The Shadow Ravens Saga. And even though the next book will be featuring another Red, I'm still looking forward to it! Cipher set an introduction to the world of Shadow Ravens and Helixes, and Aileen Erin did a really good job!


As for the characters, Cipher is very likable. I liked how she's independent and brave but beneath the strong fa├žade is a girl who wants freedom, happiness and satisfaction.

And Knight! You know my collection of fictional boyfriends is growing. His attraction/fascination/love for Cipher may be a bit weird to me but whatever, Knight is so charming. He's not only a very good soldier, but he's also a techie nerd. How awesome is that! Cipher and Knight's chemistry (figuratively and literally) is perfect! :)


Told in Cipher's and Knight's POVs, the book did not only introduced me to the future world where human DNA can be altered, but also reminded me how gratitude, trust and friendship are important in this life.

I definitely recommend Cipher! It may not be a unique novel but it's really entertaining. And let's not forget Knight! Haha!

from Goodreads
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican and 100% nerd-from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass (from Goodreads).

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