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Twisted Blood #1

The Sign Of One

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In the Barrenlands of Wrath, no one dies of old age. Kyle is used to its harsh laws, but the cold-blooded separation of identical twins and execution of the 'evil twists' at the Annual Peace Fair shocks him.

When Kyle himself is betrayed, he flees for his life with the reluctant help of Sky, a rebel pilot with a hidden agenda. As the hunt intensifies, Kyle soon realises that he is no ordinary runaway, although he has no idea why. Fighting to learn the hideous truth, their reluctant, conflicted partnership will either save them - or kill them.

388 pages, Paperback

First published April 7, 2016

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About the author

Eugene Lambert

3 books23 followers
Eugene Lambert is a refugee from the world of science and engineering, and a graduate from Bath Spa University's MA in Writing For Young People. When not scribbling away in his cabin, he flies gliders and goes for long walks. The rumours of him suffering from a severe work allergy and being an identical twin are both true...

Eugene's debut SF thriller, The Sign of One, was shortlisted for the AM Heath’s Irish Children’s Prize 2013 and the Bath Novel Award 2014. It is published by Egmont UK, on their Electric Monkey imprint. He is represented by the irrepressible Ben Illis (the-bia.com)

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5 stars
49 (26%)
4 stars
66 (35%)
3 stars
50 (26%)
2 stars
16 (8%)
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6 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews
Profile Image for Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice).
1,147 reviews152 followers
June 20, 2018
3.5 out of 5 stars!

T/W: Scenes of execution

This was a YA Science Fiction novel that I had thought about reading for a while, but today was the day I sat down and read it in just a few hours. The first book in a trilogy, that I do plan to continue reading on with. In this world, if twins are born, then one twin is assumed to be good and the other evil. They get separated and the community witnesses horrific executions to those who are caught up in betrayals. After his first venture to one of these fairs, the main character Kyle finds himself on the run from the enemies who want to track him down and steal his blood. Along the way, he learns of some very sinister secrets that have been dead and buried for years, until now that is. I really liked the premise and use of twin siblings in the novel, the world building at times was hard to visualise with the pacing dragging in places. There was a good balance of action and dialogue that kept me wanting to read on to the last chapter.
Profile Image for Eugene.
Author 3 books23 followers
January 12, 2017
Well, as the author I would give it five stars, wouldn't I? Is that bad? ;-)
Profile Image for Yzabel Ginsberg.
Author 3 books101 followers
May 23, 2016
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

2.5 stars. I'm not exactly sure how to rate this novel, because it was entertaining... but nothing I've never seen before. I guess I've just read too many “dystopian YA” novels to be easily awed?

Good things:
* There's a romantice arc, but it's far from being the main focus. The characters don't act like dumbstruck hormone-governed bodies who'll place a kiss above the fate of the world.

* The sci-fi background. It could've been more developed, sure; however, the “cuckoo” theory was interesting.

* For once the “pocket world” aspect is logical! It's a dump colony, so it totally makes sense that settlements are gathered in a limited space, and not spread all over the planet. It's not an entire world that had thousand of years to evolve, and would therefore make me wonder “well what the hell is the rest of this world doing, ignoring what's happening here?”

* The pacing is fairly even, as in, with a good amount of action vs. quieter moments. Life starts normal, then something happens, then there's a moment of quiet, then crap hits the fan again... I was never bored reading this story.

Things that didn't thrill me:

* The world-building: good ideas at its basis, but not really developed later. Although the “normal twin / superhuman twin” idea was nice, I'd have liked to know more about how this all came to be, and how it came one twin developed differently (they're identical twins, genetically-speaking, so what made the difference, or rather, how is this supposed to be explained?). Or the colonisationg itself: is it a bona fide (small) planet, and what happened to the previous civilisation(s), if any?

* The story is nothing original: tyrant oppressing the masses with the help of his “state police” (the Slayers), executions, a group of rebels fighting against the oppressor... There wasn't anything out of the ordinary when it came to the Saviour's government.

* Kyle has his whining moments, as well as his TSTL moments. I mean, come on. When you discover that you're not supposed to be here, and that about everyone will betray you, it doesn't take a genius to understand what you SHOULD NOT do. Running to do it is... head, meet desk.

* The aforementioned romance: why not... but also why. It feels like it's mandatory these days. Here, the story could've gone its merry way juste as well without it.

Conclusion: Not a “bad” novel, and I honestly think that, a few years ago, I'd have rated it higher. It was mildly entertaining. It just wasn't more than that for me.
Profile Image for Kev.
46 reviews11 followers
November 4, 2021
I've been wanting to read this for years and I could say that the long wait was definitely worth it! The novel is kinda similar to Patrick Ness' The Knife of Never Letting Go but more fast-paced; which is probably why I easily got accustomed to the themes and settings of the story. This is also the first time since Stephen King's The Institute (which I've read just a few months ago) that got me cursing the baddies to my heart's content. Needless to say, the antagonists were effective for this kind of story. As for the main protagonists, I'd say that they have their reasons for their initial unlikability; and I love their character development as the novel progressed. Due to it being fast-paced, I could conclude that the stops along their journey all contributed to the development of the novel - in short, there were no filler chapters. Speaking of chapters, I like that the chapters have titles on them, serving as a precaution to what's gonna happen. Would love to read the rest of the trilogy! :)
Profile Image for debra.
26 reviews1 follower
November 4, 2017
I want to start by saying that this is not a typical genre of book that I would read. That being said, the development of the characters kept me enthralled and interested in the storyline. The internal battle of coming to terms with who we thought we were and who we are is expertly crafted in this book. This is a well written account of the struggles we have with ourselves, as well as, the struggles placed on us by society. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Into the No Zone.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Syndi Day.
130 reviews28 followers
May 25, 2017
i was the lucky winner of a copy of this novel through a goodreads win. it is a very unusual story about a futuristic world on another planet which is both sophisticated and primitive. in this culture identical twins are called subjects and are marked by chopping off the end of their little fingers. being born an identical twin is not good. as children they are subjected to a ritual to determine which one lives and which one dies. the two main characters meet up and discover they are both secretly identical twins who didn't get marked. they set out to find their others with many clashes along the way.definitely going to check out part two to see how their quest unfolds. syndi
Profile Image for Neptune.
1 review
November 26, 2018
I thought that the storyline was extremely intriguing and I never got bored throughout the entire reading process.

I love the sense of complete innocence with the main character and the ultimate contrast between Sky and Kyle.

The way it is structured really pulled me in and I loved the fact that there are twists and turns throughout the story.

The only critic is that maybe it would lag or drop interest in some scenes but that only occurred right after a 'big bang' effect. Like when I found out that Kyle's brother is, in fact, still alive.
Even more shocking when we discover that Kyle and Colm's mother was the reason why their father is in agony. What a serious badass. (Like mother like son)

Overall, an excellent book and I can't wait to read the remaining two sequels to this breathtaking Trilogy
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Gillian.
369 reviews2 followers
September 17, 2017
Kyle lives in a regime where twins are feared and the regime is all-powerful. Secrets of his past life come to haunt him and he must find out who he truly is. Definitely a YA book - much of it reads too young for adults - but I enjoyed the dystopian background, characters and premise enough to read to the end (although it did take me 5 days, which if you know me, says it all!).
1 review1 follower
February 26, 2017
I couldn't put this thing down a fantastic read love it and can't wait for the second instalment
Profile Image for XinaHailey.
21 reviews15 followers
October 10, 2016
A tale of twins.. With a twist! (pun entirely intended)
In a world where being born a twin means death or inevitable solitude, Eugene brings to life the ideas of being 'other' in a society that wants you to do nothing more than to fit in. A gripping Sci-Fi tale that had me eagerly reading on, finishing the entire novel in under 24 hours.

I look forward to the next installment in what I believe is going to be a trilogy!!
Profile Image for Brenda.
63 reviews
August 14, 2017
Great story!

The Sign of One is a great read, particularly for fans of sci-fi/fantasy and dystopian novels. As a reader, I tend to prefer relatable dystopian and science-fi/fantasy. I do not like anything that is “too far out there” and all about the world, tech, and gadgets. I want a character driven story just with an original setting that adds a new dimension to the story. The Sign of One achieves this. As I was reading this book, I felt tones/shades of Star Wars and Ender’s Game. Fans of these will probably really enjoy this book/series (this is the first book in a trilogy).

The characters are real, relatable, and grow and develop throughout the story. I especially liked Kyle. His growth from an innocent teen going to a Peace Fair, against his mother’s wishes, to a somewhat reluctant hero (and the inner monolog that goes along with this) is interesting, at times humorous, and a refreshing change from the typical male hero character in books like this. I appreciate Kyle’s sensitive, scared, and thoughtful side. I was also intrigued by Sky. She had her strong female “bad-ass”, “get out of my way and let me get things done right” moments/side but there was also a definite angry, hurt, and sensitive side to her. I am anxious to learn more about her and her sister’s story.

The dump colony of Wrath is slowly introduced to the reader and as the book progresses Wrath becomes a more well-developed and interesting world. I appreciated not being overwhelmed with all the technicalities of the world up front and information overload. However, this did lead to some of the terms used in introducing the world and the technology of the time threw me at first but they were explained and became familiar as I kept reading.

The pacing of the story was well done. It was fast enough to keep you interested and staying up way past bedtime, but not too fast that you didn’t have time to absorb and process what was happening. There is enough action to keep the story moving and the enough gore for those that want it but not too much so as to offend those who don’t want it. It was a book that once I started reading it, I did not want to put it down until the end. The author struck a very solid balance in these regards.

The book provides great content for moral talking points/discussions for What is evil? Who is evil? How and why would you arrive at a society like this (a ‘dump” colony), as well as, issues of injustice, compassion (or lack thereof), mob-mentality versus standing up for your beliefs, fair weather versus real friends, the classic hero journey, the emotions of a teenage boy, as well as the anger of a teenage girl, and much, much more. I think that would make this a great book for middle school and 9th-grade students to read in schools. I think it would be interesting for both boys and girls, and I suspect even reluctant readers, and it would generate a lot of good discussions.

It would also make a brilliant film. Oh please, let it be adapted to the screen!!!!!

I am looking forward to reading book number two in the trilogy (already available in the UK, called Into the No Zone) and book three.
Profile Image for Lorna.
213 reviews17 followers
June 27, 2016
I have to confess that when it comes to the realms of fantasy and science fiction I do tend to favour the fantasy side. Sci-fi would never be my first choice of genre, however, every now and then a book comes along that changes my mind. The Sign Of One is one of those books.

Living in the Barrenlands of Wrath, people are used to hardship. Life is tough, and usually brief. However, after Kyle attends his first Annual Peace Fair his world is turned upside down. Being ignorant of what the Peace Fair entails he is horrified by the branding which takes place with the removal of the little finger on the left hand, separation and eventual execution of the "idents", identical twins who are seen as evil and a bad omen to the "purebloods" of Wrath. What's even more astounding is finding out he's one of them. But Kyle's not evil, he would know....wouldn't he?

Yes, the "twists" as they are called are different. Stronger, faster, and better healers but does that make them bad? Kyle has to flee his home, leaving his mother behind and putting his life in the hands of Sky, a rough tough rebel fighter who nobody in their right minds would cross. Unfortunately, for Kyle, they have already met and first impressions have not been favourable.

Kyle is now in exile, and what's more, there is a national manhunt and he is the prey. But what is it that makes Kyle so special that there could be such a big price on his head? He's just another twist, right? In their quest to find the rebel base and sanctuary not only must Kyle make an epic journey across the barren wastelands but he also attempts to find himself, as well as the identical twin he's been separated from.

This book had me hooked from beginning to end. I felt the frustration of Kyle having no answers to his questions, I felt the bitterness of Sky being branded as evil and a scapegoat from when she was just a child. This novel not only tells a ripping good yarn but it delves into the much deeper issues of prejudice, superstition and scapegoating which is all too familiar both in the present climate and in the past. I literally could not put it down. This is the beginning of a trilogy that I would quite happily put into the category of books such as Never Let Me Go and Wool which make me feel differently towards sci-fi as a genre and makes me think that maybe I do like it after all.

Recommended for those who love adventure, sci-fi and for those that don't! Give it a go, I'm glad I did, and I can't wait til the next installment.
Profile Image for Janine.
351 reviews10 followers
April 6, 2017
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Sign of One is an action-filled science fiction set in a world with all the key features of a terrifying dystopian society. A tyrannical leader, harsh laws, struggling lower class citizens and of course, a secret rebellion.

The story kicks off with a fast pace from the beginning and rarely lets up throughout. As can be typical of first stories in a new dystopian world it does start with somewhat of a barrage of terms, introducing the reader to the local vocabulary, words to describe the traditions and creatures etc. This can make it a little intimidating at first, however all is slowly and tantalisingly revealed, detail by detail! It's a mysterious story with plenty of intrigue and although you can guess the general arc of the story, there are still enough surprises to make it unpredictable.

What makes the world of Wrath so special is the idents. Wrath has a very high birth rate of identical twins, originally considered to be a blessing, but we join the story when idents (and 'twists', twins who develop special abilities) are feared, hunted down and terrorised. It can be a little gruesome as we learn the true appalling treatment some people are subjected to under the leader's regime but I would say it's perfectly suitable for Young Adults and up!

I thoroughly enjoyed the world building in The Sign of One and getting to know the main characters. I look forward to returning to Wrath in the sequels!
Profile Image for Arwen.
129 reviews3 followers
March 24, 2016

In the Barrenlands of Wrath, no one dies of old age. Kyle is used to its harsh laws, but the cold-blooded separation of identical twins and execution of the 'evil twists' at the Annual Peace Fair shocks him.

When Kyle himself is betrayed, he flees for his life with the reluctant help of Sky, a rebel pilot with a hidden agenda. As the hunt intensifies, Kyle soon realises that he is no ordinary runaway, although he has no idea why. Fighting to learn the hideous truth, their reluctant, conflicted partnership will either save them - or kill them.

I have been given an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

People describe this book as science fiction, but to me it feels straight forward dystopian.

I wasn't sure about this book at first. Yet within a couple of chapters, I was totally hooked and am finding it difficult to turn the pages quickly enough.

Kyle is a likeable protagonist, but I absolutely adore Sky. Her spirit and fight make her an incredible female lead.

The society that they live in is based on a web of deceit and lies and it's going to take real courage and fight to uncover the truth.

This story is really fast paced and every turn of the page leads you further in. I was reluctant to put down this tale of strength and bravery. I cannot wait for further books in the series. Worthy film plot!

A five out of five star read.

I'm profoundly grateful to Netgalley and Electric Monkey for my ARC.
Profile Image for Lozzi Counsell.
Author 8 books26 followers
April 3, 2016
This was a really good book with highly developed characters who all had flaws that made them more relatable to the reader. The one character who probably wasn't as believeable was Wink - the way she spoke and acted made her seem a bit older than her actual age, but I still fell in love with her. The reason I marked this book down was due to the ending (very good ending) but I sense that it is most likely the first book in a series and although I have the want to read the next book, I don't feel like I NEED to as the characters I cared about I received closure over. Rona and Colm are declared okay at the end and that's all that really matters to me. The only unfinished part is now to do with Tarn, but as I don't know her character at all I'm not too bothered. It would have been better if the book ended without the reader knowing if Rona or Colm are okay.
1 review
April 5, 2016
The Sign of One is an exciting, gripping read from start to finish. Set in a dystopian wasteland called Wrath, where twins are regarded as evil, the appealing protagonist Kyle is horrified at his first visit to the Peace Fair. There he sees racks of cages, each with a pair of terrified twins inside, waiting to discover which one has twisted blood and will be executed. But then the Reapers attack, and Kyle gets hit by a blaster. His injuries should kill him but somehow he survives - a fact which changes his life forever and forces him to flee...
Eugene Lambert paints a vivid picture of a bleak, forbidding landscape where threats and dangers are around every corner. Kyle is a likeable central character who brings wit and black humour to this compelling, filmic story. The writing is imaginative and taut; the plot a drama-rich roller-coaster; and the pacy dialogue is convincing.
Profile Image for Emma Christina.
331 reviews14 followers
March 1, 2016
I devoured this in one go, a brilliant story, brilliantly gritty and relateable characters and a interesting new dystopian world (which reminded me of an outer planet from Firefly) with new and frightening rules and ideas. The only thing i would criticise is that sometimes the amount of new words and animals made it flow a little less smoothly than it could have, but this is a minor thing. Looking forward to revisiting this in a sequel.
August 15, 2016
Although not a young adult or a fan of science fiction / dystopian worlds, I enjoyed reading the book. I found the story well-told, rattled along, good descriptions, not overdone. Violence not too graphic and interesting device about recovering quickly. Some interesting questions posed (how did one twin become different?), answers maybe in next book in series? I would certainly recommend it.
1 review
September 10, 2016
Sometimes characters get lost in science fiction novels because the worldbuilding and technology overshadow their flesh and blood struggles. Not in The Sign of One. The characters, exotic locations, and fast-moving plot are beautifully balanced, and you see and live through every (occasionally horrible) experience that Kyle struggles through.
I loved it, although I shiver every time I use a kitchen knife now. Poor Kyle!
You must read this book. Can't wait for the next in the series.
Profile Image for Sarah Roberts.
3 reviews
March 1, 2016
This marks the first part in what promises to be an excellent trilogy. The action begins immediately when Kyle ‘chooses’ to visit the Annual Peace Fair and the pace doesn’t relent throughout the rest of the story.

For the full review, please visit The Read Box:

Profile Image for Karen Barber.
2,424 reviews57 followers
May 15, 2016
4.5 star rating
A slow start as we get to grips with life in the Barrenlands. Kyle is warned not to attend the annual Peace Fair-when he does, an awful chain of events begins.
Once we learn more about the way the world is set up, I found this gripping.
Some well-drawn characters; full of action and an ending full of hope.
Will certainly recommend this.
1,196 reviews
June 8, 2016
Another enthralling Sci-Fi with a multitude of great characters and a fascinating storyline, taking place on a desolate planet called Wrath. Eventually good conquers evil and the planet has a chance to recover and right the wrongs of the past. Possibly a chance for a sequel but this story has a conclusion.
Profile Image for Michele Barnes.
172 reviews3 followers
September 27, 2016
Not my favourite book but I kept going with it. The ending was predictable, setting up the next instalment. I did like the lead character Sky and sympathised with her desire to find her sister. Maybe will read the sequel
178 reviews3 followers
July 24, 2016
Omg the Gemini folks - LeGuin, Ballard, Ness... Bravo Eugene Lambert.

Best young adult fiction since Northern Lights.
Profile Image for Maia Moore.
329 reviews47 followers
May 8, 2017
Original review posted here

I saw this book tipped as The Maze Runner meets The Fire Sermon and that didn’t really make me want to read it as I didn’t particularly enjoy either of those books. However, I was sent the sequel to review and thought I’d get the first book (via a birthday present from Nathan) and give it a go.

I’m really glad I did. I see where the comparisons come from with those two books, but this was so much better to me. It was like everything I wanted from those two books but didn’t get with them.

In Kyle’s world, twins – or ‘idents’ – are seen as a curse and kept away from the rest of the world until they prove which is normal – a ‘scab’ – and which is a ‘twist’ – an evil imitation of a human. After an attack on the way home from the Annual Peace Fair, Kyle’s world is turned upside down as he’s forced to become a fugitive, pursued by the Saviour’s Slayers for reasons unknown to him.

Kyle was a great character. I really liked the first few chapters at the Peace Fair, where we were introduced to a lot of the ideas of the world without it being too info-dumpy. Kyle’s reaction when he first sees a twist and how he’s pressured by his friends was just a really good scene.

Sky’s character was really interesting too: she didn’t feel like the stereotypical ‘bad ass’ girl that you often get in YA these days. She had her motivations and I was pleased that she didn’t let the romance between her and Kyle get in the way of her goal. The romance didn’t feature too heavily, which suited me, and it was nice to see two characters not lose their heads just because they like each other.

To criticise, I guess this did feel a little paint-by-numbers dystopian at times: evil tyrant oppressing everyone, special main character who can change things, group of rebels fighting for a better world. It’s been done before but there’s enough original material in this to make it interesting and make me want to read the sequel.

If you’re into your dystopian then this one is for you. I’m really excited to see where Kyle and Sky go next in Into the No-Zone.
Profile Image for Emma.
167 reviews
January 14, 2018
Decent read but not outstanding. I read the first third in a night. Thought it was looking like a great read. I thought the concept of the pure bloods and twists was interesting.
The middle was just plain boring. I went days without picking it up and when I did I wasn’t hooked. I felt like the author was filling time and nothing significant happened.
I pushed on and enjoyed the ending. I’m considering reading on now where as yesterday I wasn’t.
Has a hunger games type feel to it. Typical dystopian with dictator making the masses miserable. I feel like there was not enough development of the world though to make it standout. There is a romance in the background but for the life of me I can’t understand why they were not just friends. It added nothing to the story and felt a bit forced.
Overall fairly average but good enough to consider the next book. Maybe more of an insight into the world of Wrath is on its way.
Profile Image for Aveston.
9 reviews
May 14, 2017
It was a good read, but the plot was typical corrupted government and I found it was kind of predictable
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