by Sarah Harian
Published By: Penguin/Intermix
Release Date: 03/18/14
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult
Source: ARC received for review purposes
Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.
If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.
Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.
She doesn’t plan on making friends.
She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.
I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first saw the cover. I loved that it was a New Adult Dystopia (we need more of these please!), I loved that the cover was sooooo different than 99% of new adult books out there (I love the blood!), and I of course loved that this book was about killers.This quickly went on my ‘Killers’ shelf and I was so excited when I finally got my review copy. I sometimes feel let down with books like this because I feel like they don’t reach their full potential. I mean, if you’re gonna write a book about a group of killers, might as well go all out. Sarah kicked ass writing this book and I loved that she went all out and made her characters dark and flawed and WICKED!
Evalyn has agreed to skip the trial for her charges and opts for spending one month in the brand new, experimental Compass Room. The odds of her, or anyone, surviving the 30 days in the Compass Room are very slim. But Evalyn would rather do this than to have to suffer through her trial where her crime will rehashed in vivid detail. She has pretty much no chance of winning this trial since she’s accused of mass murdering 56 people. She also believes she deserves to die and she’s accepted it. So, off she goes into the Compass Room with nine other criminals. The Compass Room is designed to test them and evaluate if they are truly evil, but with nine other criminals, who have committed their own horrible crimes, what should Evalyn fear more? The people controlling the Compass Room or being killed off by one of the other criminal?
The Compass Room inserts triggers from their crimes to test them, but when these tests start killing people, they have to either choose to try to survive by forming an alliance or eliminating the others before they eliminate you. I wasn’t expecting for this book to have the sci-fi-ish feel to it, but the tests that the CR put them through were hard core and brutal! Evalyn reluctantly forms and alliance with Casey, who seems to hate her. Seeing as Evalyn has commited the worst crime out of all of them, she’s not surprised. But, they both surprise each other as they help each other and the other people in their alliance. Suddenly, their feelings of hate and self-loathing and pity start to slowly turn into more. When they both know they are probably going to die, and they believe they deserve it, it becomes easy to be able to find comfort in each other. They also start to realize that even though they might all be killers, not all of them are evil.
This is one of those books that really makes you think more than just right vs. wrong or black vs. white. Despite the fact that they’ve all killed, you feel connected to some of these characters (Valerie!) and you can’t help but feel for them. I wasn’t aware that this was part of a series when I first started reading it, but I’m excited that it is because there is still so much more of the story I want to know! The Wicked We Have Done was a dark and sometimes disturbing story. The haunting writing gave me chills sometimes. I loved how it was so depressing, yet so beautiful at the same time. I really hope we see more of these types of books because the NA category needs it!
Some of my favorite non-spoiler quotes from The Wicked We Have Done:
“I wanted to die.” She sputters a cough. “For so long. I don’t want to anymore. I finally don’t want to and now it’s inevitable.”
Maybe Casey’s right. Maybe I’ve died already and this is hell.
“You made it worse. He was going to kill me. It was going to be over. Now I have to sit here and wait to die.”
He pulls me into his lap. I trace my finger across his forehead, swiping the hair from his face. “I don’t mind my last memories being you,” I say.
It’s fair that each one of us is put through this torture. Even those of us who are morally good at heart need to be reminded that what we’ve done is still, at its core, unforgivable. The only people who could ever forgive me completely are those here, in the Compass Room, because they are asking for the same forgiveness.
I am wicked in its purest form. I had gathered hope in the darkest places for the sake of destroying it.
We go through so much with these characters, especially Evalyn and Casey. It’s always nice to be able to see the author’s vision for the characters they write. Enjoy the following character profiles provided by Sarah Harian:
Character Name: Evalyn IbarraAge: 22
Background: Evalyn grew up close to Phoenix. She went to college in the city and majored in art. Her college boyfriend of five years was her high school sweetheart, and their relationship was close to perfect until Evalyn’s best friend was killed in a mass shooting, and Evalyn was blamed for it.
Aspirations: Survive the next thirty days.
Distinctive Features: Dark, wavy hair, brown eyes, and a long, straight nose. Gaunt from a year in prison.
Speaking her mind
Protecting those she loves
Her little brother
Seeing Casey’s vulnerable side
Running into her trigger object
Watching people die
Name: Casey Hargrove
Age: 19Background: Casey grew up in Tennessee and moved to Illinois in his teens. With a rough family life and an abusive father, he only made it through one semester of college as a construction management major before cracking and killing his dad.
Aspirations: Survive the next thirty days
Distinctive features: Tall and brawny, hazel eyes, square jaw, and freckles on his nose.
Figuring Evalyn out
Violence for the sake of violence
The thought of Evalyn dying