Formats available: ebook
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Magic Born, #3
Length: 207 pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Date Released: December 1, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
She was the only Magic Born to ever escape the Rangers. Now there’s a ten-million-dollar bounty for her return.
Trancehacker Tuyet Caron could have left New Corinth for good, but instead uses her magic and risks her life on a daily basis to help the Magic Born. She’s been careful to avoid capture, but a careless glance at a video camera brings her face to face with the Ranger who let her go.
Captain Dale Hayes let Tuyet walk away once, but he won’t make that mistake again. When faced with the ultimate choice, however, he chooses her with barely a thought. But that also means siding with the Magic Born and becoming a fugitive in the eyes of the law.
Tuyet and Dale plan to flee, but are caught in a deadly riot that kills innocent people. Outraged, the pair vows to bring an end to the Magic Laws, regardless of what that means for their own safety.
I have to say that I have loved every book in Sonya Clark’s Magic Born series so far (start with Trancehack, reviewed here), and Firewall is no exception. The worldbuilding in this series is chilling, scary and consistently awesome.
I read Firewall just as the deliberations from the grand jury in Ferguson were being announced, and the parallels between the society in the book and the actions of the elected officials in Ferguson was frighteningly close.
When the powers that be are unhappy that news of their abuses has gotten out of their tight cordon of control, they blame social media. This was true in the speech, and is also true in the book.
It gave me goosebumps, and it made me think. And shiver.
Firewall is the final book in Sonya Clark’s Magic Born series. This is a near-futuristic dystopian world where the U.S. has made itself into a dysfunctioning, economically depressed dystopia by locking all of those born with magic into ghettos and taking away their citizenship and rights. Because anyone can have a magic born child whether they themselves are magic born or not, children are taken away from their parents in infancy, as soon as the DNA test is administered.
Needless to say, the birthrate is dropping like a rock, because no one who wants a child wants to face the possibility that the child will be taken away.
By the time of Firewall, things have reached a tipping point. The restrictions on the magic born are increasing, and the total lockdown of magic born ghettos has plunged nearby neighborhoods into economic depression. Since no one initially wanted to live near a Freaktown, those nearby neighborhoods weren’t in good shape to begin with.
Lots of people are more and more sympathetic to magic born. The younger generation is much more tolerant than their elders. And the elders want to hang onto power at all costs.
Forces collide with violence. The government wants to bring in one of the few magic users they trained who escaped their clutches. After her, they send her former partner, the agent who probably let her escape. The agent who certainly has continued to love her in the three years since she left.
Tuyet Caron feels responsible for the new repressive laws against the magic born. As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, she facilitated the escape of a woman and her magic born lover. Unfortunately for everyone, that woman was the wife of a prominent anti-magic politician, who is more than willing to use his professional clout to avenge a person wrong.
As the crackdown deepens, the violence escalates, and encompasses more people, including non-magic born. Into this volatile mix, Tuyets old partner Lee Hayes comes to either take her in, or help her escape again.
Their old enemy is right behind him.
But the climax of the story concerns the effects of the total information blackout on everything wrong in the flashpoint city of New Corinth. All info, including social media, is blocked by a firewall of tech and magic, maintained by a news corporation that wants to continue its monopoly on secret magic use.
Breaking that firewall, no matter what the cost, is crucial to bringing down the magic laws. Everybody pays dearly to make things right.
Escape Rating A+: While the love story between Hayes and Caron is sweetly done (three years of repression makes for a lot of sparkage!) I felt like the real depth in this story was the way that people came together to make sure the word got out.
Everyone in New Corinth knows that things are bad there, but because all true information from the ghettos is instantly repressed, no one on the outside knows about the police atrocities. And yes, there are definitely atrocities, including shooting unarmed civilians as they flee the violence, and otherwise deliberately sabotaging escape routes so that innocents are trapped in the kill zone, if not killed outright.
It’s brutality on a massive scale, but too many people who would be righteously opposed are kept completely in the dark and fed propaganda. It’s obscene in its way, and all too easy to believe.
They can’t beat the police – it’s not possible and it isn’t what they need. What they need, what the whole country needs, is for the truth to get out so that the situation can be repaired. Not just that the magic born can become citizens again, but that the U.S. can recover economically. The cost for disenfranchising and entire population is frighteningly clear.
It is possible to substitute the current treatment of any repressed group and come to the same sad conclusion about the potential future. That’s what made this book, and this series, so incredible for me. It was awesomely entertaining, and it made me think seriously at the same time.