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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
When Ava is given the chance to escape her life in a juvenile detention centre and become a trained assassin for ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network, along with other troubled teenage girls, she accepts and looks forward to her new start in life. Ava embarks on a harsh training regime led by friend and training director Russ and tough, emotionless field operative Mitch. All the female assassins are injected with Helix serum which increases all of their senses, making them a deadly force to be reckoned with. Ava receives strange messages from a person called Sniper, who seems to know about her past. Whilst Ava is on a mission with her team, Sniper - aka Rhett - and his gang kidnap her and reveal the reality behind ISAN’s work. Ava is left devastated by the discovery and as ISAN recaptures her, she is left wondering if she can trust anyone.
ISAN - International Sensory Assassin Network by Mary Ting is a gripping novel that caught my attention from the first sentence when Ava leads her team in a training exercise. The plot is fast-moving and filled with three dimensional and realistic personalities. I especially found the relationship between Ava and Mitch interesting, as they fought a battle of wills throughout. As Mitch relentlessly tried to get into Ava’s mind, she had to constantly fight him psychologically. I loved the character of Ava; she was strong and had a gritty determination. It is refreshing to see a novel filled with so many great female characters. I found the creation of ISAN and the description of their work, and treatment of those who decided to leave, quite chilling. My favourite line has to be: ‘Memories can be erased, but you never forget emotions’. I feel this summed up the story perfectly. There is plenty of action and suspense throughout and the ending surely made way for another novel and the continuation of Ava’s adventures. I hope so.