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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Factory by Amanda Dacyczyn is the first book in The Factory series. No one really knows how the Factory started, but they know that fifty people will go in and only six make it out alive. None of the survivors talks about what happens to them. They thought it was done until one day, they see smoke in the sky and they know that it's back. Worse, they know someone they love could be chosen to go inside. Javeen has taken care of his siblings since his father's disappearance, doing everything he can to protect them. Mae has been on her own since her parents died, when the town seemed to have forgotten she even existed. When the Factory chooses them, Javeen is determined to do whatever it takes to make sure she comes out alive. As the two form a bond, they realize the Factory is a dangerous mind game that will try to break them at all costs.
A wonderful beginning to a series, The Factory is an emotional story of survival, friendship, and an eerie beginning to a larger adventure and I can't wait to see where it goes. Amanda Dacyczyn provides a range of emotions as Mae and Javeen are forced to confront their pasts, themselves, and each other. They're both layered, flawed, and holding onto the pain of their pasts by going through the motions of their daily lives. Javeen is charming and has a gentleness about him, and in a sweet aside, he's been trying to work up the courage to talk to Mae when he's thrown into the Factory with her. The Factory is honestly terrifying, not for its unseen controller, but for the emotional and psychological games played on those chosen.
The setting is intriguing, a dystopian world where the United States is vaguely regarded, a fine balance to the eeriness of the Factory. The village is heavily shown at the start and though it isn't a paradise and the tragedy in the characters' lives is very real, it still feels much like a home. Javeen and his siblings have a close bond that is endearing and adds to the devastation when he's chosen for the Factory. Dacyczyn provides a lot of sympathy for both main characters, making both very human with flaws, weaknesses, and strengths. A wonderful read!