ARC Review: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

The Murder ComplexRating: 1.5/5
Series:  The Murder Complex #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Young Adult
Release Date: June 10th, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source:  Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?


For the first time in a while, I was actually looking forward to a dystopia. I was eager to read this book. The premise was intriguing. It drew me in and when I saw this book on Edelweiss, I knew I had to have it.

Boy, was I in for a MAJOR disappointment. There were HEAPS of problems in this novel and not many redeeming factors in sight. In fact, it turned out to be a very typical dystopia instead of a unique one as it had promised. The only really positive thing I can say about this book was that I was never bored. I never dozed or fazed off. Hell, I didn’t even really rage until after I had finished the book. I was irritated and extremely annoyed but I didn’t rage.

Zephyr and Meadow suffer from the pretty people syndrome. Neither think they are much to look at, but would agree that the ‘other person’ is the most beautiful person they have ever laid eyes on. When describing the ‘other person’, they never seem to see the scars. I don’t mean to imply they make a person less beautiful when I say that, but it just seems that in each other’s eyes they are flawless and that doesn’t make it easier for me to like the two. You could consider someone the most beautiful person WHILE still accounting for their imperfections, too. Also, might I add that in a murder-infested world, I don’t really see why beauty is so important. You don’t need to make a big deal about it… especially since every day seems to be a struggle for survival in this world.

I tried to ignore how they felt for one another and tried to enjoy their characters aside from their interactions with each other, but that seemed impossible to do considering how much time they actually spent with one another or thinking about the other person. It almost seems as though without the presence of the ‘other person’, these two would have been incredibly flat (that isn’t to say they were particularly round.. they weren’t, but the book would have been extremely boring if the book only focused on one of them). Zephyr, for example, thinks that his only purpose is to protect Meadow, who from what I’ve seen is capable of protecting herself, so I do not comprehend his obsession with wanting to protect her.

“I feel like I can protect you now…”

Seriously. That is his what he says after he learns how to consciously use his fighting skills.

I cannot really say much else about these two in terms of their characters because they failed to leave any sort of impressions on me. I simply didn’t care about them.

Their romance on the other hand was a whole other story. It had insta-love written all over it. Within a span of a week (approximately?) they have ‘fallen in love’, have ‘known each other forever’ etc. What? I do not comprehend.  I really don’t see how they could have fallen in love seeing that Zephyr tried to kill Meadow in their first real interaction. I don’t even understand how Meadow could have so easily forgiven him for endangering her family (although I am not sure she even realized that his actions put her family in danger). Their romance just seems so oddly perfect. In a very bothersome way.

The secondary characters definitely had potential which went down the drain. For starters Talan annoyed the living daylights out of me. Her blatant disregard for prostitution in general was quite disturbing. It was a joke but the fact that she kept on threatening to turn to prostitution bothered me. I know she was going through a rough time but it didn’t, make it easier to swallow when our beloved Zephyr replied to her threats

“ I’m seriously considering prostitution over this.”

With this

“Talan,” I groan, “you can’t just pawn yourself off like you’re a worthless Leech. You’re better than that.”

Uh huh. Would you like me to escort you to the exit or are you going to show yourself out?

Koi was an interesting secondary character but then again, was also a huge hypocrite. In spite of that though, I would have definitely liked to have seen more of him, since he seemed to be the most interesting character amongst them all.

The world building itself was not original, but on top of that, I also felt like it was sending the wrong messages. I felt like the book was trying to tell me how science is not always good and shoved that idea down our throats with such an extreme case. That just didn’t work for me because really that sort of situation wasn’t necessarily the result of science, science may have helped make it worse, but to imply it was the cause doesn’t sit right with me. Everything depends on the intent of humans. You could make eating seem evil if it came to that (ooh, there is an idea, a world where everyone if forced to eat tons of food in a bad way?). Plus, it just seemed harder for me as a reader to wrap my head around how something good could lead to something bad. Was the book trying to imply that had everyone died and suffered the characters would have been better off? They might not even have been alive had a cure not been found.

The swear words were bothersome, too. It’s not like this book is set 100 years into the future or anything. From what I gather, it seems to be set around 20-30 years from a time when things were good so how have the swear words evolved so much?

I mean Flux and Skitz? REALLY? It just makes it altogether harder to take this book seriously when the swear words are so SILLY.

The plot just is. I mean, there are twists that I saw coming and other stuff going on, but this book was more like an intro and a build up for the sequels. Nothing particularly important (in my opinion) happened in this book. It was paced well enough and I finished it rather quickly, but it’s just that there seemed to be a lot of running around and a lot of discoveries over the course of a week. It didn’t give me enough time as the reader  to actually keep up with what was happening and so there was this sort of detachment from the entire book for me.

If you’re reading this book in hopes of finding something unique in this genre, I suggest you look elsewhere (After the End perhaps?).

Note that all quotes have been taken from an uncorrected proof and may be subject to change

Rating Report
Overall: 1.6
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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    Oh no! I was really excited about this one as it sounds like it has a fascinating premise, so I’m sorry to hear it didn’t live up to what you expected Rashika! :( It’s always a shame when books are promoted so originally, only to find out they’re the same old dystopian story. I definitely see where you’re coming from though – the instalove and characterization sound absolutely atrocious. I think I’m going to give this one a miss because everything you’ve mentioned doesn’t sound quite appealing to me. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, even if this disappointed you, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…We Were LiarsMy Profile

  2. says

    Wow Rashika, I honestly don’t know how you made it through this, this book does sound like it has a lot of issues, which is a real shame, seeing how you were hoping that this book would offer something different. Thank you for taking one for the team, I hope the next dystopian book (whenever that maybe) will offer something more unique!
    Jasprit recently posted…Showcase Sunday #52My Profile

  3. says

    Well that totally stinks. I’m like you and typically finish a book all the way through, no matter how god awful it is! :) And there’s nothing worse than beautiful people who think they’re unattractive. Gag! UGH….

    Great review! :)
    Cristina recently posted…Book Blogger TestMy Profile

  4. says

    Nooooo! I am SO looking forward to this book! (Or should I say was .) Haha! No, but this is an awesomely honest review, and I love it how you put everything so clearly. I’m kind of cringing at the dodgy swearwords (seriously? that’s best “future us” can come up with?) and also the “prettiness”. Ugh. Show me some REAL looking people, please. Also the romance sounds a bit dry. *sigh* Well, I’m lowering my expectations for this one, that’s for sure.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Gone by Michael Grant (You need this kind of trauma in your life.)My Profile

  5. says

    This book is my anticipated new release this year, but as the release date is closer, I feel less excited. It seems like typical dystopian. LOL pretty people syndrome, when I read your review I realized that syndrome sometimes bugs me too.
    Thanks for your honest review, I think I’ll just buy it if there is paperback edition.

  6. says

    *cries* WHYYY?
    I was looking forward to reading this one because it had such a cool concept, so it makes me sad that you didn’t enjoy it as much, but most people were disappointed with it.
    This seems to have too many tropes that would really bother me.
    Ugh. Pretty people syndrome. And the romance sounds really cheesy and I’m so sick of insta-love. Whenever I come across a book with insta-love now I DNF it. I can’t deal with this shit anymore.
    Also, the science is evil concept would really anger me, especially since the idea seemed to be shoved down your throat. Plus, I’m a huge science-lover and I don’t tolerate science hate.
    I think I’m not going to read this anymore. I feel so bad though because I’ve been avoiding so many Harper Teen e-galleys lately.
    Thanks for the honest review, Rashika.
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah StrohmeyerMy Profile

  7. says

    It is such a shame that you did not likes this one missy! :/ There has been a lot of hype surrounding this one for a long time!

    I may have to bypass this one altogether, the prospect of bad world building mediocre characters and evolved swear words that I will never get the gist of is not my jam at all!

    Thanks for the honest review & here is to a better read next time! <3 xxx

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries
    Alex recently posted…April Favourites: Diversity, Fan Art, Feeling Dumb & The Morganville Series!My Profile

  8. says

    What the FLUX?! (That sounded good in my head, but not when I spoke it.) Sometimes, there are books that we can’t put down, but ended up hating. Based from your review, I can see why the main characters aren’t too likable, as they couldn’t really exist without the other. I imagine falling asleep if I am already reading about Zephyr (or just Meadow).
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…The Weekly Roundup #009 : Asian Dramas, Aliens, and Dean. Books, too!My Profile

  9. says

    I was actually looking forward to this book so it’s a real let down after reading your review (well at least you let me save my money for something better :3)… the two main characters sounds pretty unlikable to me and I really hate it when romance escalate quickly and nonsensically..

    ~well I guess that’s one book off my tbr list…
    czai recently posted…[Top Ten Tuesday] Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’tMy Profile

  10. says

    So this sounds like an incredibly superficial read. Which is HIGHLY disappointing b/c I too was genuinely excited about a dystopia for the first time in a LONG friggin’ time. Add to that insta-love, insensitive treatment of a very serious subject, and ridiculous and distracting lingo . . . and well, I think I’m gonna have to PASS. Sorry for the stinker, Rashika :( Just keep your eye on the prize–school is almost out, and then you’ll have all the time in the world to read books made of awesome!
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Early Review: The Immortal Crown by Richelle MeadMy Profile

  11. says

    Once again, it’s like the reader is lied to by the blurb, where you’re promised one thing but given another. Honestly, I still don’t really know what happens in the overall book because from what I can gather, it seems like another romance story set in a ‘dystopian’ world. I frankly love dystopian stories, but the good ones are so hard to come by these days. Boo! The Murder Complex sounded SO promising, but it’s safe to say I’ll now stay far away from this book. Thanks for your honest thoughts Faye xx
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…ARC Review: The Year of the Rat by Clare FurnissMy Profile

  12. says

    Oh my gosh this sounds awful. If your review didn’t convince me, the quotes did. I had no idea this one was going to be like this, I had such high hopes for it. The characters sound like huge cliches and adding insta love in just makes everything so much worse. Yikes.
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