This is not the story of how America fell apart; it is the story of how it pulled back from the brink at a heavy cost. Randall Quinn saved the people by killing democracy, and while everyone else is enjoying the booming economy and free rides to college, 16-year-old Lacan Branford is stolen from her family and tossed into a secret prison. She becomes part of Quinn’s nanotechnology experiments designed to create Nanotechs, the ultimate weapons of national security. But she is not alone.
Lacan meets Chloe, a girl who has been locked up longer than most and lost a little of her sanity along the way. She also finds Alex, a classmate she did not really know aside from her flirty reputation. And then there are the other girls they just try to avoid. They are three against a hundred.
Their families think they are dead and they have no chance of escape. Their only choice is to serve Quinn and preserve the new order he has created. Fortunately for Lacan, she met someone who says he will help her do just that. All she has to do is survive her training.
Sooner or later, they all have to prove their worth.
Proving Ground is a well-written novel that drew me in from the very first sentence. Right away, I felt that the characters were very well developed and the story was something unique. The main character, Lacan, is just an average 16-year-old girl who gets her life ripped away from her and is thrust into this secret world that few know exists. Though obviously upset about being torn away from her family and her boyfriend, Lacan stays strong and makes allies immediately, though the alliances are less about protecting herself and more about protecting others. All of the girls that have been forced into this facility are training for the Trials, where their skills will be tested, and if they prove themselves worthy, which few do, they will become Nanotechs.
The Nanotechs are scientifically advanced creations that thrive off of nanotechnology and specially designed suits of armor. Right away, they reminded me of comic book characters like The Winter Soldier or even Iron Man. So far, only two have proven themselves worthy of becoming Nanotechs, the Gray Reaper and the Black Knight. They serve as a symbol of justice, taking care of what needs to be done that the new government can’t necessarily handle through traditional means.
There is a fair amount of violence in Proving Ground, similar to The Hunger Games, but nothing overly-gruesome. The Trials require the girls to fight against one another to prove their skills, and the girls are relentless.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am impatiently waiting for the sequel, Silver Maiden, to be completed so I can get my hands on it. I give the book 4/5 stars.
You can purchase Proving Ground from Amazon HERE