About the Book
The Protector Project by Jenna Lincoln
Release Date: 6/15/15
Boroughs Publishing Group
Summary from Goodreads:
ENDLESS CARNAGE. ENDLESS QUESTIONS.
Mara is a 17-year-old soldier who’s spent years fighting a war that’s lasted generations. Wide-eyed children, some just turned thirteen, rarely survive their first fights despite her best efforts to train and lead them. What she thinks she wants is to uncover the root causes of the war between the Protectors and the masked Gaishan, maybe find a way to end it. But what she really wants is a future—for herself and the others—beyond the battlefield.
Then she’s injured in combat, and when an enemy fighter not only heals her wounds but reveals his face, she sees the promise of all she desires. This cunning teen Gaishan has answers to her questions, but first she must commit treason and travel beyond the boundaries of her world. She must brave a place where everything rests on the point of a blade: her loyalties, her friends, her heart.
After reading several dystopian novels in quick succession, I started reading this book with the expectation that this was another dystopian novel.
The protagonist, Mara, is a seventeen year-old veteran in the middle of a war. Most of the soldiers are teens. Some were tithed to the government by their families, and some are orphans raised by the government. A lot of pieces here allowed me to, quite lazily, confirm my suspicions.
Until I realized that maybe this wasn’t really a dystopian novel. It is definitely a romance, a military science-fiction, a pseudo-fantasy. But it certainly doesn’t take place on our earth. And while life in the military is difficult, we can’t call every depiction of the military a dystopia. The world is broken into some odd binaries: masks bad, bare-face good, human vs. Gaishan, those in enclosures and those in encampments. There are certainly haves and have nots, but have you looked outside lately? None of this makes a book a dystopia.
No, this is something else. I was pleasantly surprised at that. I needed a break from some (admittedly very good) dystopian books.
Early on, we discover that things aren’t as they seem: the faceless monsters look like the humans when the masks come off; the human leaders are lying about victories and motives. We bring our own assumptions to our reading experiences, and this book plays with those assumptions. That takes some careful and smart writing.
The Protector Project initially feels like a fantasy novel, but there are some science fiction elements, especially as the book moves forward. It is a quest for truth.
I enjoyed the surprises along the way. There is plenty of action, romance, and shocking discoveries. This book is aimed perfectly at the combined YA/Teen group.
Agony disrupted Mara’s ability to maintain her energy shield. Dizzy and nauseated, she pulled off her helmet and tried not to vomit. With one hand she soothed her horse, with her other hand she pressed hard on the gash. Hot blood trickled into her boot.
A Gaishan stepped out from the trees. Its hand came down next to hers, brushing Mara’s fingers and the wound.
“Don’t touch me!” she yelled.
The figure pulled off the Gaishan mask revealing a human face, young and male. His smile was grim, “Mara, you were out of position.”
Mara’s breath stopped. She stared into the Gaishan’s silver gray eyes, felt the tremor of magic cross from his fingers into the torn flesh of her leg. The air shimmered and shrank, enclosing them. He was light haired and tall, not much older than any of the Protectors. The pain eased and the burning tapered to a mild sting.
“Your questions have answers. But you’re asking the wrong people,” he said.
She threw a punch at his mask-less face, but the Gaishan blocked it, trapping her hand.
His smile relaxed into a grin and he leaned closer. “One of the answers is, this isn’t your fight.” He slapped her horse on the rear, propelling them back to the field.
About the Author
Jenna Lincoln loves to read, write, and talk about reading and writing. She spent many happy years as a language arts teacher doing just those things. After dabbling in Firefly and Supernatural fan fiction, Jenna got serious about building her own imaginary world, big enough to get lost in for a long, long time. When she comes back to reality, Jenna enjoys her home in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two daughters.