The premise is that in the distant future, humanity has mostly destroyed itself with the survivors living in arcologies run by various megacorporations. Olympias City is run by one and survives due to the efforts of a cybernetic assassins called the Guardian Angels. Blue-eyed mercenaries. they are created from children taken from the dregs of society or its outcasts then upgraded into unfeeling weapons that eliminate all dissidents.
Nephilim is one of the best of the Guardian Angels, soon to be promoted to their Archangel ranks that answer only to the mysterious Metatron. Fortunately, or unfortunately, she is damaged during one of her battles and starts to question her role as a government cleaner. Assisted by a nerdy computer programmer named Finwick, she manages to buy herself some genuine freedom and explores it with a young rebel named Jake. However, totalitarianism turns out to be harder to escape than it sounds.
I like the world-building in this book. Olympias City is a dystopia in the vein of Brave New World versus 1984, focused more on bread and circuses versus direct oppression. You are provided a job, security, and all the sex as well as mindless entertainment you could want. It just requires you to have your news edited, to never disobey your superiors, engage in no religion, and ignore the perversities of the society like legalized child trafficking. Anna introduces the darker elements one at a time so that it takes awhile to understand just how fully messed up the society is.
Nephilim is a fantastic character and one of the more likable heroines I've encountered in the genre. She desperately wants to be free and the good guy but is still fairly naive due to being programmed to trust her superiors as well as believe in her society's propaganda. This pays off in a way that I feel is the highlight of the book. I'm also a fan of Finwick, who is both repulsive and likable in equal parts. I mentally cast him as Seth Green just like I used Kate Beckinsale for Nephilim. Now there's a movie I would have liked to have watched.
Metatron is a fantastic villain and comes across something like a Bond villain transported to a cyberpunk dystopia. Educated, charming, and urbane, he's a fellow that thinks he's less of a complete monster than he is. Despite my earlier statement that it's more BNW than 1984, he reminds me strongly of O'Brien from the latter. A man who has immersed himself in the culture of the old world and is aware of the Party's flaws but gleefully pursues its goals anyway.
The book is extremely action heavy and those people looking for something like Underworld or Resident Evil will appreciate this. The Guardian Angels have numerous chapters where they go Wolverine on their enemies and show exactly how dangerous they are. Well-written action invokes both emotion as well as suspense in readers so Anna Mocikat deserves props for achieving both.
In conclusion, I think this is a book that fans of cyberpunk and scifi action thrillers will enjoy. There's lots of fantastic movie-esque set pieces and scenes as well as a strong character heart. I'm not a big fan of Nephilim's romantic interest but that's a small complaint in an otherwise solid story. Definitely recommended. The ending is going to frustrate a lot of readers but I also think it was a good method to get readers to buy the next book.