Review – Carrier (The Line #1) by Anne Tibbets

**TRIGGER WARNING: Depictions of rape and violence towards women**
Reviewed by: E

Twenty-two -year-old Naya has spent nearly half her life as a sex slave in a government institution called The Line. When she’s kicked out after getting pregnant with twins, she’s got no way to earn a living and a horrifying choice to make: find someone to replace her, or have her babies taken in her stead.

A doctor with a history of aiding ex-Line girls, Ric Bennett, wants to help. He runs a team of rebels that can delete Naya’s records and free her forever. But when The Line sniffs out his plan, things get bloody, fast. Naya means more to them than just a chance at fresh faces—her twins are part of the government’s larger plan.

As they hide from government search parties, Ric comes to admire Naya’s quiet strength. And Naya realizes Ric might be a man she can trust. If they make it off the grid, they could build a new life. But first they’ll have to survive the long, vicious reach of The Line.
This blurb came from Goodreads

This blurb looked intriguing because she has to restart her life and she has an impossible choice in front of her. Then she encounters someone who could help and discovers her life is even more complicated then she expected. While the story delivered on the blurb’s promise there was so much more I wasn’t expecting.

Carrier is set in a post apocalyptic world with enclaves of humanity inside walled cities and a population of people outside. Within the cities, in this case Auberge, everything was tightly controlled and very expensive – access to food, water, sanitation, education, and housing. If you were part of the city’s elite life you could have anything you wanted including access to government controlled and highly expensive sex slaves. If you were anyone else and couldn’t pay for things you needed either you stole them or a member of your family into slavery. Girls often ended up on The Line under what was called a 10-year Contract then rumor had it they were returned back to their families. However, very few made it through 10 years, instead girls just vanished and were replaced with new girls. Naya does her best not to remember her life before and really doesn’t have any hope of a different life when she is pulled aside for a physical inspection following a night with a brutal client. When she awakened her life as she knew it was drastically different.

Auberge was a very brutal city where might ruled if you were poor. Parents abandoned, lost, or sold their children as a matter of course and desperation. People fought over the slightest hint of a job and friendship was often a precursor to a knife in the back. The Line while providing Naya with some funds, restricted what she could use them for as a means to prevent her from finding a way out of the horrible options they offered. She didn’t have much exposure to life outside so she was very shocked and unprepared for what she encountered.

I found Naya at times both a sympathetic and a challenging character. I did enjoy watching her slowly start to trust and care and her refusal to sacrifice others to what she had endured. I was also glad to see Tibbets included Naya’s struggles as she dealt with her PTSD and other lingering effects from her life as a slave. I didn’t always understand Naya’s choices but I liked how even though she had a very hard time trusting people she managed to retain her own sense of ethics.

While Naya’s development was front and center, Ric didn’t seem to change much as a character. He had all sorts of secrets and while some came out, I felt he was still hiding things. I could understand why he helped girls or women from The Line but I thought his reliance on his position and connections was a bit much. He did suffer some betrayals and losses, however in this first installment, he still seemed much too gentle to survive.

Carrier is the start of Tibbets’ dark and brutal world where humanity is willing to do whatever it takes to survive. As more information about Auberge and their long term plan not to mention how far the central power was willing to go in protection of their plan was revealed I began to wonder how the series would work out for Naya, Ric, and the other rebels. Ultimately, I found this story to be too dark and brutal for me so I will not be continuing the series but I thought Carrier was a well crafted story.

I give Carrier a B

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