Book Review: The Murder Complex, by Lindsay Cummings

murder_complex_coverShe’s trained to survive. He’s trained to kill. With a gripping tagline like that, one would expect this book to be excellent, right? Think again. When I first heard of The Murder Complex, I was instantly hooked. With its compelling title and blood-spotted cover, it seemed to be my type of book: bloody, action packed, and thrilling. Unfortunately, it fell extremely short of my expectations.

The Murder Complex is the start to a series by a brand-new author, Lindsay Cummings. It is a futuristic novel about a fifteen-year-old girl named Meadow Woodson living on a houseboat in Florida with her father, older brother, and younger sister. The world has changed drastically. A plague affected the world and killed off extreme amounts of people before a cure was found. Now, death is only possible by murder, which could happen anytime, anywhere. The murder rate is higher than the birth rate and no one is safe. Meadow has been trained to fight and survive by her callous father. Now that she’s approaching sixteen, she has to compete for a living. She soon meets and falls in love with Zephyr, a Ward, or someone who has to collect the bodies of people who are murdered every day. Zephyr is actually a trained killer, although neither Meadow nor Zephyr actually knows it. After a near-death experience, Meadow discovers something called The Murder Complex, which is a system that controls the number of people who die each day.

This book was an major disappointment. It’s simply way too confusing and chaotic. Periodically I had to stop and reread the summary to understand exactly what I was reading. The author attempts a dual POV with Meadow and Zephyr, but it doesn’t work out. The characters’ voices are too similar and they meld into one. It’s also just plain ridiculous. I was constantly rolling my eyes at the poor attempts to be dramatic and the “coincidences” that occurred so frequently. In conclusion, the plot was overly complicated, the romance was ridiculous, the characters were bland, and my boredom levels were high. It’s basically just a poorly executed replica of the Divergent series and The Hunger Games. Maybe my expectations were too high, but The Murder Complex was one disappointment after another.

This review is based on an advance reader’s copy. The Murder Complex will be available in bookstores everywhere on June 10, 2014, published by Greenwillow, an imprint of HarperCollins.

-Rabani S., 9th grade

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