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Thursday, March 27, 2014

ARC Review: The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

This book took me in a familiar but completely enjoyable ride.
That high from a particularly strong adrenaline rush thrumming through your veins?
I feel like I was in the Compass room myself.

Title: The Wicked We Have Done (Chaos Theory #1) by Sarah Harian
Release Date: March 18th 2014
Published by: Penguin/InterMix Books
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon


Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

Everyone compares this book to Lost, which I admittedly have not watched. And so on that front, I couldn't understand the similarity. But The Hunger Games? It's one of my favorite series of all time, that's why I know I have to read this. And on that front, I understand the comparison. Survival of the fittest, but on a whole new level.

I've been on my toes from the moment I've read the first page. It's almost as if I see the first scene in my mind like the start of a movie, full of mystery. It took a while for me to warm up to Evalyn, because how do you warm up to a person who went on a killing spree? A criminal? Terrorist? But Evalyn knew what she's done, and as she familiarizes herself to me through flashbacks of her life as a college student, talented, with friends and a bright future, those two parts merged and suddenly she was this person with a much more complete personality and character that made me re-evaluate what I initially thought about her. Strong, and despite the world painting her as a cold blooded killer, Evalyn presented herself as someone with conscience, kind, compassionate, and surprisingly, good deep inside. That struggle to think if she really was the monster everyone tells her she is, her life inside prison and what her life will be outside if she survives is something I looked forward to knowing throughout the book.

It was much more surprising how I liked Casey more than I liked Evalyn. Like everyone in the Compass Room, Casey took a life. He killed someone, but what Casey had done was necessary to escape hell, and instead of feeling hatred towards him, I felt sadness for what he has gone through compared to Evalyn. The scars, the nightmares. He was surprisingly gentle and naive in ways, and those moments where he was trying to make sense of how Evalyn really is inside, and how he was the one person who believed in her endeared him to me.

You will encounter the worst of the worst in this book, and like it or not, you'll see what it's like to be on the side of a killer, looking out. The Compass Room has a myriad of characters who had done unimaginable things, a rapist, a boy who enjoys torturing people before killing them. You'll take a peek on how they became like that, but as much as you see the dark side of a human being, you get to see why they did it, and not because they like to inflict pain, but for them, sometimes it's the only way. To end things, revenge, to stand up for themselves. And all these unraveled under the scrutiny and mercy of those who try to weigh whether these characters are guilty or not. But despite all of that, you won't help it, some of the characters will pique your curiosity and even if you will not like them completely, they will hold your attention enough for you to start trying to see them through everything The Compass Room has in store for them. Valerie, a complicated character that I had a lot of fun reading about, was one of these characters I'm referring to.

The Compass Room is a place where everyone's deepest and darkest fear surfaces, and I've lost count how many times I stopped and paused because I couldn't help but be as equally afraid as the characters. To relive the worst memories inside their heads, confront the person they killed and re-enact the way they were killed was such a cruel way to determine who lives and who dies, who's innocent and who's not. It was such a convoluted way of dishing out punishments, to scar these people who are already wounded in terrible ways further until there's no other choice but to die. The worst part of it was they were all a part of an experiment. And it makes you wonder how this form of giving justice is better than what was already being done.

A word to the wise: despite their supposed evilness, these characters are human. You are bound to sympathize and understand one of them in some ways, but don't let your heart get in the way. There were deaths in this book. A lot, done in horrifying ways and in the most unexpected of circumstances. You have to think and think hard while reading this book. Sarah Harian injected just the right amount of feelings in this book, enough for you to feel them in moments that matter and still leave you conflicted. But please, think hard. Is Evalyn, or any of the characters in this book, deserving of love? To form bonds of friendship? To lament for their sins? Do they deserve second chances? Do their reasons justify what they've done? What if you leave the judging in the hands of a computer program? What would happen to those in the experiments? They're humans too, aren't they? It's these types of questions where you get to weigh in what you think of what's right and wrong, punishment and justice, that makes this such a compelling read.

What a very intriguing debut for Sarah Harian, and I enjoyed reading this book in ways I didn't expect it to.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
The one star wasn't given to this book because I had issues with some of the themes presented in this book, and they were tough to swallow. It's not the LGBT theme, believe me that was one of the best parts of the book, but just that sometimes the deaths were too much for me, and it made me uncomfortable when Evalyn, Casey, Valerie, Jace and the others encountered these people. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that everything was left in the hands of a program, and that those deaths were from a mistake they did. How ridiculous does that sound? But the reasons behind it were enough for me to get back on track and think that The Compass Room IS an experiment. Also, you might need to read about Chaos theory to get a more complete picture on why Evalyn has done what she did.

Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
I am, admittedly, judging a book by its cover most of the time. I'm glad this one is as good as the cover presents it to be.


  1. Not a fan of NA, but this looks like something I might be interested to read. Good review!

    1. Hi Japs! Same here, but this one's really good, promise~ Give it a try! ;)

  2. I like the premise of this, that not all killers are just that. They're people too. Goddess knows this book is going throw me through a loophole or seven, but I'm preparing to have my mind blown. Thank you for turning me onto this book.

    Rebecca @ Vicariously!

    Btw I like your blog so much I'm putting your button on my blog. :)

    1. I can't believe I haven't replied to this. Thank you so much! You're the same one I was talking to on Twitter, right? Please give it a try and tell me what you think! :)


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