In Suited by Jo Anderton, Tanyana is a debris collector – one of the people of Movac-under-Keeper given the job of collecting the dark byproduct of the city’s powerful pion systems. Unable to see the bright pion particles herself, she instead has the unpleasant and sometimes dangerous task of collecting the dark debris that threatens to disrupt the city’s essential functions. Since debris passes through solid matter, her and her fellow collectors have suits grafted to their bodies in order to be able to catch the dark material and collect it in special jars. The silver metal of her suit resides in her body in liquid form, taking shape according to her will and giving her, along with her fellow collectors, super human powers.
However, Tanyana’s suit differs from those of her fellow collectors. It is more a part of her body, more powerful than any other suit; but is it entirely under her control? Will the veche who control the city ultimately use her as a weapon for their sinister purposes: or can she wrest control to save herself, her friends, and her world?
As the second book of The Veiled Worlds trilogy, the novel begins with an “Analysis of Past Events” given by the puppet men – the villains of this world. This prologue manages to sum up the important events of the first book, though the facts might have been woven into the text more subtely. Soon afterward, however, the narrative begins with Tanyana and her collecting team – her friends and the only people she truly trusts – facing unknown dangers. They must collect enough debris to make quota in order to avoid the gaze of the city’s powerful veche. However, their worst fears are realized when their team – their family – is separated. Now Tanyana must watch after her remaining team members while appraising whether or not to trust her newest coworkers. Meanwhile, the Keeper – the ancient guardian of the city – needs her help, and she is flung into greater danger – along with those she cares for most.
The pace and plot development of Suited is as fast and compelling as book one, though the emphasis shifts more to Tanyana’s internal struggles. How much of her body is still her own? Is she more suit than human? How can she protect the people she cares about? New characters with their own broken backgrounds add interesting plot developments, while others Tanyana thought she knew add twists of their own. Always in the background, the Keeper struggles to keep the world safe while the puppet men invent more horrific ways to destroy it and keep Tanyana under their control.
One of the things I enjoyed about the book was how flawed Tanyana was. She made mistakes. She didn’t know what she was doing, and many times she acted on impulse laced with a healthy amount of intelligence and instinct. There were moments where I wanted to shake some sense into her head, while at the same time believing that such a flawed character would act in exactly that way. Yet her bravery and heart made me root for her too. I cried when her heart was breaking and smiled when she was happy.
Some of the character placement seemed too convenient, though that was explained by the novel’s ending. In fact, more of the world is explained in this novel than book one. The veil is drawn back further and while we can’t see everything, we see enough. Questions are answered – not entirely, but the reader can begin to guess some of the answers. Of course, as book two of a trilogy, there is more to come, but this still felt like a conclusion. The scope widens with each novel, with book three promising to be the biggest battle of them all.
Though this is book two of the series, the prologue fills in any relevant gaps in the reader’s knowledge. The characters interact in a real and believable way, even given the fantastic setting, and the novel’s pace increases with each page. Fans of exotic worlds with fascinating characters are sure to love Anderton’s Suited.