Rissa was very young when her parents were killed covering a news story. Her uncle came to care for Rissa and her brother, but the welfare system denied him guardianship and took the two to a Welfare Center where they were separated. Rissa gradually forgot life before the Welfare Center and endured day after day of drudgery. When she was selected to be the new secretary for one of the managers, she was able to tap into more information than she was supposed to learn about. She tried to track down her brother, but could never get into see him. When the news came that she had won the lottery and now had enough credits to leave the Welfare Center, Rissa was thrilled.
Overjoyed with her newfound wealth and the chance to escape the hated Welfare Center, Rissa soon finds out that the UET, the US government that controls everything, has plans to get all the money back and to send Rissa back to Welfare. Rissa is determined not to let it happen to her, so she follows the advice of an old friend of her parents and escapes to South America, where the Hulzein family trains her in combat, disguises, sex and many other necessary skills to survive. After a year of training, Rissa escapes Earth and rides on the starship Inconnu with Captain Tregare to Planet One of the Hidden Worlds where she hopes no one will find her.
Rissa contacts the Hulzein family on Planet One, who take her in, but not before she makes a mortal enemy of del Nardo, one of the government workers with a powerful family. Rissa refuses to let del Nardo beat her and challenges him to combat, which she is determined to win. While she waits for the combat day, she finds that she has started to care for people again and feels that the Hulzeins are a kind of family to her. For the first time in many years, it matters to Rissa if she lives or dies and so she is determined to win the combat and to make a life for herself on Planet One.
I was expecting a lot from this book because of all of the glowing reviews. I wonder if I read the same book that they did because I don't see a whole lot of role model in Rissa. There is quite a bit of violence in the book - Rissa is raped daily by her boss at the Welfare Center, she is raped by Tregare while she is traveling on the Inconnu, and she also kills quite a few people along the way. I found Rissa to be a hard character to like because she had no feelings for anything until the very end of the book and by then I had no feelings for her. Some of the story was interesting, but it was written pretty blandly without a lot of excitement and Rissa talks in a very stilted sort of way, I'm not sure why. It was an okay read, but nothing that I will pursue any further.
This report prepared by Debbie