The Murder Complex
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Release: June 10th 2014
Genre: Dystopia, Thriller, YA
#1 in the Murder Complex duology
Sequels: The Death Code (#2)
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.
The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?
Rage. White hot rage. So much of it. The Murder Complex was probably the most anticipated debut for me, with a great sounding plot and, so far, great reviews. I was really pumped for this, I was expecting to come out loving this, but ... I did not. And it is some very basic things Cummings did horribly, horribly wrong that made this such a flop.
I have to get this off my chest as soon as possible, the one thing that annoyed me the most and irritated me so fucking much: the chapter length. Seriously. What the hell was that even? The average chapter length was about 4 pages. Four fucking pages. We would get two to three pages Meadow's POV, then two to three from Zephyr's, Meadow's again for a couple pages, then we switch again; in some rare cases we would stick to one POV for about 10 pages at a time, but never more than that. Are you fucking kidding me? That's just ridiculous, absolutely and utterly redonkulous and it pissed me off to no end. Am I adequately conveying my full-blooded rage about this? I hope so.
But not only that made me feel like I signed up for a true horror show, oh no. Then came the wholly disastrous romance on top of it! A couple weeks ago I read Dorothy Must Die and I said that Nox and Amy's relationship was one of the worst ones I have ever read? Weeeell, folks, I have come across one that is even fucking worse. I feel like if I begin to point out everything that was wrong about it, I will not be able to rein my anger in anymore, but ... I'll tick it all off: Zephyr has strange "dreams" about his "moonlit girl." That already rung all of my alarm bells, and I was already having a bad feeling about it. But then they meet when Zephyr's bleeding out on the streets, and Meadow has this inexplicable desire to save him ... when she's trained to not care about anyone, and is a certified merciless killer.... huh? Then, they properly meet, they have met literally five seconds ago when Meadow agrees to follow this complete stranger into town, somewhere she's not familiar with, into "Leech Lover" territory... and then she's still not weirded out enough by him, no, she goes bathing with him and they are so close to kissing... on page 150. I was SCREAMING in outrage, screaming "NO." Just, pure and simple, no. Something interferes, and Meadow muses about Zephyr later, saying something like "Those feelings [she] had had in that moment are never going to come back." WELL FUCK THAT SHIT BECAUSE GUESS WHAT? The feelings did come back. Very, very quickly. Too quickly and too ... out of character for her. This relationship was so completely awful, horribly portrayed and "developed", it almost made me cry in frustration, I am not even kidding. It was so infuriating, so enraging, I was getting desperate.
The plot, man. I didn't really know what it was about getting into, the way I do, but I was expecting something along the lines of Uninvited, something with a kill gene maybe or something. But for about the first half of the novel, I was stumbling around in the dark, and I was starting to seriously question if there even was some actual story in here, if Cummings ever got to that point. Even after finishing the novel, I'm still having trouble summarizing the plot. Simply because it was so messy and unclear, not once properly explained, I never got the whole picture. I got the gist of it, but I am not satisfied with what I got, because to me, what explanation was thrown at my feet just felt like it was there simply because it had to be there. I mean, yes, there was a lot of action, but there was absolutely no development whatsoever, no real moving forward with new knowledge, it just came all at once in an info dump and then Meadow and Co. were like "Aight, we're gonna do this now" and that was the end climax, which was totally underwhelming and unspectacular. I just ... what the hell was this? Apparently, though, I am not the only one who felt even the premise was unclear a lot of the time and was way too convoluted to be in any way pleasing, since a lot of other reviewers who didn't like the book said this as well.
As for the characters, I just ... I will give Cummings one thing and that is that she can write different sounding POVs. At least, at first. In the beginning there was a clear distinction between Meadow and Zephyr's voices, they sounded different, which is something a lot of authors struggle with. However, I quickly grew to dislike Zephyr simply because he was a real a-hole generally in attitude and thoughts, but also because he was a hopeless fool, dreaming about his damn silver girl thinking she was gonna be his true love and what not. Meadow I liked at first, she was kickass, did what needed to be done and didn't let anything get in her way. But I started doubting her too when she was so naive and gullible whenever it came to Zephyr, it was seriously exasperating. The side characters were shallow and unremarkable, I did not even care when they started dying, it was rather ridiculous, as well as tedious trying to remember any of them.
In the end, I cannot express how utterly furious I am. I feel like I have been invited to Disney World by Mickey Mouse himself only to find a rundown version with one attraction that is really shitty and has a huge line despite of it, and then been punched in the face for good measure, because I actually dared to be excited about it.