Review: Cipher by Aileen Erin

(The Shadow Ravens, #1)
By: Aileen Erin
Publisher: Ink Monster
Published: Oct. 14, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance

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In the not-too-distant future, the color of your helix tattoo shows exactly how your DNA was modified—green for super-smart scientists, black for pumped-up warriors, white for the immortal Seligo—but Cipher’s red helix is a death sentence. It’s a sign of unstable DNA, which is probably the reason she can manipulate electricity.

When she was eight years old, Cipher made the mistake of showing her uncle the tattoo. In return, he killed her parents and tried to kidnap her.

She’s been on the run ever since, and twelve long years later, Cipher is tired of hiding. Survival isn’t enough anymore. She wants her life back.

Hacking into the Citadel mainframe is a huge risk, but it pays off when she finds a database on red helixes. Before she can copy it, she loses control of her power, charring her last processor, and the only person in the Arizona Voids that can get her back online is her oldest friend, Knightly. She hasn’t seen him in person since she started running, and Knight 2.0 is fully upgraded with a six-pack and knee-melting smile.

For a girl like Cipher, trust doesn’t come easily, but Knight makes her yearn for a life she knows she can’t have, especially when every secret she reveals endangers them both.


Cipher’s helix tattoo is red which means that since she was little, she’s been on the run. She’s learned a lot of tricks that have kept her alive over the years. But when a hacking job calls too much attention to herself she has to put her trust in a group of guys who are not only part of the military that hunts her kind, but they also share the same mysterious raven tattoo that Cipher has.

I thought this was going to be a sci-fi young adult story but it’s really more of a romance novel that’s set in the near future. There isn’t a lot that’s actually futuristic, aside for the whole helix tattoo thing. I was also a little disappointed that the romance overshadows everything. The story is in both Cipher and Knight’s POV. These two met when they were little kids and unknowingly kept in contact via online. Knight has been Cipher’s computer part supplier. Meanwhile, Knight has actually been looking for Cipher (aka Emma) because his secret mission is to save the red helix’s and he’s had a soft spot for his childhood friend throughout the years. So when they meet each other they instantly fall in love. I mean, we are like two days in and there’s talk about marriage. I don’t know. I was really thinking there would be more sci-fi but that was not the case.

If you are looking for a kick-ass sci-fi story, this is not it. I think those who would enjoy the story the most would be anyone who’s looking for a young adult romance. Unfortunately for me, when I picked this book up, I was looking for a kick-ass sci-fi story.


1favequote“Well, why don’t you shit in one hand and wish in the other. Let’s see which fills up faster.”


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