Do you believe in second chances? Megan Thomason’s novel, daynight, The Second Chance Institute (SCI) not only believes in second chances, but works diligently to provide them. However, what are their true motives and who is behind the organization? Are they simply altruistic or is there evil involved? Thomason’s young adult dystopian novel weaves a complicated tale together seamlessly that sucked me instantly.
Kira Donovan is a 17-year-old who witnesses a terrible tragedy right before her senior year in high school. After her boyfriend and best friend are blown to smithereens, Kira signs up with the SCI to assuage her grief and to receive a full scholarship for college. Blake Sundry, Kira’s classmate and another survivor of the terrible explosion, also signs up with the SCI. His sister perished in the blast. Unlike Kira, he joins up with the SCI not to help, but to overthrow the institution. His father has trained him for this moment for years. Blake and his family were exiled by the SCI. After Blake’s mother died, he and his father want revenge. Ethan Darcton’s parents are powerful leaders within the SCI and he is expected to toe the line. However, Ethan’s childhood has caused him to question the SCI and his parents. All three characters have to deal with the powerful and all-controlling SCI while living on the planet called Thera. Who will survive?
The best attribute of Thomason’s debut novel is her ability to include so many twists and turns. Each time I thought I figured out what would happen next, she threw in another curveball. Given this, it was hard to set the book aside. The love triangle between the three characters added a juicy complication. Kira is fiercely loyal. Yet, she loves both Blake and Ethan. How can she reconcile her loyalty and her conflicting feelings?
On the whole, I enjoyed this novel. The writing is impressive and the story is a real page-turner. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any flaws. One weakness that stood out to me was the lack of emotional response during extreme moments in the story. At one point, Kira witnesses something dreadful. However, Kira’s reaction is so muted that it was unbelievable for me. On occasions, Thomason’s characters came across a little flat and almost robotic. I understand all three of them are remarkable individuals, yet they are still young and I think it would have added to the story to allow them to act like teenagers a tad more. Teenagers are not known for being logical and in control of their emotions all of the time. Again, these are minor criticisms of the novel. The strength of the story kept me interested and intrigued. I would love to see her characters develop more as the series continues.
This novel is the first in the series and I’m hooked. At the end, Thomason ended with such a cliffhanger I can’t wait for the next installment to come out so I can continue with the story. Who will be victorious: the SCI, Kira, Blake, or Ethan? I give daynight 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy dystopian novels, give this one a whirl.