Spark by Rachael Craw.
This is part one of a new science fiction series about genetic engineering that has got away on the Affinity Project. an organisation that wanted to create the perfect soldier.
Decades before the start of this novel the Affinity Project introduced a synthetic gene into the human food chain. Specimens were carefully selected and monitored with the effects of the gene giving the recipient heightened senses, reflexes, pain threshold and strength.
Like all genes they are passed on to the next generation. The effects were sometimes minimal, sometimes powerful and sometimes they skipped a generation. Affinity monitored the changes but like everything genetic the synthetic gene mutated. Those that held the original gene became known as Shields and those that mutated became Strays.
Evie is 17 has the gene and is to find out she is a Shield but a third generation. Her mother has just died and she is living with her aunt and her mother’s twin, Miriam. Miriam knows all about Affinity and works for them as a Shield. She can’t help herself just as Evie is not going to be able to.
As the changes start on Evie’s body and mind she is baffled and finds she has a strong protective instinct towards her best friend Kitty. She finds that her job is to protect Kitty from a murderous Stray who is stalking Kitty.
As Evie’s physical and sensual talents grow she also develops Kinetic Memory transference and Harvest. She can access memories by touch and transfer what she sees to others. Powerful stuff. She finds out there are others amongst her acquaintances both good and bad but which is which?
Kitty is her first job as a Shield and she finds out that no Shield has managed to be successful on their first client.
Complicated but fascinating. Action is frequent and romance starts to intrude in Evie’s life. Good start to a new series as this novel sets up the scenario.
For High School and young Adults. If you liked Kathy Reichs’ Virals novels you will love this.