Kepler One is reminiscent of ‘The 100’ crossed with a version of ‘The Hunger Games’. The even have their own quaint little saying ‘May you find health this day’.
The story follows Zoe, a girl who comes from the lowest of a ‘Tiered’ system in the last bunker on Earth.
There has been a cataclysmic event on Earth, destroying not only the planet, but much of the population, and all that remains is buried in a massive bunker below the Earth, with 5 multi-level Tiers.
Those on the Tier One, the deepest, are the safest and the most privileged, as they are the furthest from the radiation soaked surface. Those in Tier Five are in mortal danger, being close to the surface. You end up in Tier Five when you are bad, commit crime, or if you are just lucky enough to be born there, as is the case with poor Zoe.
Zoe is trying to look after her dying Mother, and another young boy, Jason. This is, until there is a lottery, a lottery for a special place aboard a new program – the Kepler One. In a last ditched effort to save humanity, this project will see 15 kids chosen and launched into space to another planet to try and set up a new colony and then retrieve those left on Earth.
I won’t go into it all and spoil all the story, but obviously, Zoe is chosen.
The story focuses around her time as a Cadet in this program, the struggles, trials, and relationships with the other Cadets. Although there are only 15 spots, a lot more than that are chosen, and have to be weeded out through medical, academic and physical challenges.
The main character of Zoe is an interesting character, even though she has grown up in the hell that is Tier Five (it is full of people who kill or rape you as soon as look at you), she is one to help others. However, she is also very reserved. I found that her character seemed to be at odds with herself at times, but for the most part, this was pretty easy to overlook.
This might sound like another repeat of a story that has been done multiple times, and to some extent, it is, there is even a the love triangle between Zoe, and two boys, Nathan and Tristan, who of course have a rivalry and hate each other. But Keane has created a rather interesting dynamic with her Tiered system, and the additional characters, Otto especially are likeable enough that the story is enjoyable.
There are some issues with the story, time does not seem to get mentioned enough in the story, and moves at an irregular rate, and the Cadets all seem able to learn at incredible rates (such as Zoe who can’t read or write understanding the complexities of wormhole mechanics in what seems less than a week?), as well as they appear to heal from injuries very easily. There is a lot of glossing over of various aspects of the story, which if you are detail oriented, can be a little annoying.
Overall though, this is actually quite a decent read for this type of book, it is definitely aimed at a teenage audience. There is some violence including a near sexual assault in the book for those looking at letting younger teens read it, but there is little in the way of bad language.
For those that are into The 100, Hunger Games, and that style of story, this is definitely for you. Otherwise, if you are after something that is a fun read with a pretty interesting Dystopian World – this is well worth it.
Looking forward to the next book!
The radiation on Earth is killing everyone Zoe Ruthland cares about. After winning the Lottery, she is the only tier five citizen given a chance to start over on a new planet. Seen as unworthy, a criminal, many want her to fail. Zoe must survive training, and the other cadets, to secure her place on the Kepler One spacecraft. But something sinister lurks behind the Government’s plans to save humankind and Zoe has no idea that she is an integral part of it; that she is chosen for another reason.