Hannah Payne wakes up red. Not angry or sunburned red but a deep red that colors her skin. She has been convicted of murder and chromed. Her crime was having an abortion, killing an unborn child. In Hannah’s world, our future, criminals are not incarcerated and allowed to live off the state. They are chromed different colors for the type of crimes they commit. Yellows are short-term misdemeanors, Blues are child molesters and Reds are murderers. In this world the line between church and state is no more. The religious right has taken over. And Hannah’s lover, the man she will do anything to protect including having an abortion and being chromed is the Secretary of Faith Aiden Dale. Aiden is the spiritual leader of millions and a married man, but Hannah loves him and won’t betray him even when it adds years to her sentence.
The life of a chrome is not an easy one. They are sent out into the world with no protection and usually with no family. Hannah’s family hasn’t completely abandoned her but nearly. Her mother won’t speak to her and her dad tries to help. Her sister is under the thumb of a controlling husband and doesn’t dare help Hannah. Hannah of course won’t turn to Aiden for help. But Hannah is not without support. She is taken in by the Novembrists, a group dedicated to getting chromes out of the country and dechromed in Canada.
Hannah starts this journey as an innocent with her faith in tact. As she continues her faith is rocked and broken as is her innocence. She learns to see the world in a truer light and realizes she can’t depend on anyone except herself. She is no longer the innocent sheep following the shepherd and believing without question. She starts to question the world and her place in it. And ultimately she decides she is important.
I found that I couldn’t put this book down. I was so invested in Hannah’s story and where her journey would end up. Her world is a scary one but not an implausible one. It isn’t hard to imagine a world where the religious right has taken over. I find that my favorite dystopian novels are those that are believable, that you can see happening in our future. It makes them scarier and more real. I would definitely recommend this book.