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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
A Keen Betrayal by Linda Deenen commences by introducing the reader to genetically modified Meandre, who is out patrolling her assigned “zone” for a range of unique creatures, including the apparent enemy “Shadowbeasts”. Meanwhile, Dustin and his patrol partner have instructions to test a new weapon that proves more deadly than expected and triggers an incident in which Meandre is injured. The enraged Shadowbeasts continue to seek revenge, and Dustin is forced to use the weapon again to save a guard. After Meandre is treated in the wellness center, she and Dustin team up to investigate their hypothesis that the Shadowbeasts are capable of demonstrating communal behaviors. Things go wrong and Dustin is captured and taken to the enemy camp. His escape confirms a shocking realization.
A Keen Betrayal by Linda Deenen is a futuristic young adult novel with a social message. I enjoyed the speculative aspect as the author introduced several different classes of genetically modified humanoids. The image of a future society where longevity is enjoyed by privileged individuals while others were bred to be helpers was chilling and thought-provoking. I liked the way the narrative was constructed, requiring the reader to decode the different points of view and infer the true significance of events. Meandre and Dustin’s developing attachment seemed particularly special against the background of a society where romantic capability had largely been lost. The story had action, adventure, and a set of likable main characters. I can confidently recommend A Keen Betrayal by Linda Deenen to fans of post-apocalyptic and post-technological fiction.