Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Review: The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

The Wicked We Have Done (Chaos Theory, #1)The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

Author: Sarah Harian
Series: Chaos Theory
Pages: 272
Publisher: Penguin/Intermix Books
Release date: 18th March 2014

Synopsis: 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.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

Ever since reading Nereyda’s (Mostly YA Book Obsessed) review of this book I have been really eager to read The Wicked We Have Done which is the first book in Sarah Harian’s Chaos Theory series. With a unique premise that reminded me of a mix between The Hunger Game & Diverget, I was eager to see how this book would play out and to say I devoured it would be a gross understatement!

Evalyn Ibarra is an accused killer and has chosen to be an experimental test subject in the compass room which will hopefully decide her moral code rather than see her face the death penalty. Locked up with nine potentially crazed criminals, its literally a fight for survival as we see each of the characters forced to relive the crime they had committed; it was dark and terrifying and not knowing if at any time they would be wiped out turned it into a high stakes live or die game where pretty much anything goes and you don’t know who on earth could be trusted.

We get to learn about Evalyn’s life before being accused through flashbacks which was relatively happy to post incident which hardened her as a character; I really enjoyed her self-sacrificing determination and I was eager to know how she had ended up in such a horrible situation which did take some time to find out but it made me sympathise that little bit more with her in the end.

I felt the romance was a weak point; it wasn’t the most ideal setting to form a relationship so I wasn’t completely sold on the bond Evalyn had formed with Casey. I thought it was great they came to trust and rely on one another but there were no moments that left me yearning for them to have their HEA, especially with the re-appearance of Liam – Evalyn’s ex who isn’t really an ex because of her situation so I’m eager to see how it all plays out.

I thoroughly enjoyed the intense suspenseful moments, with the characters having to relive their crimes and the compass room and science more or less deciding their fate; I was curious to see how it all worked, complications were bound to arise and they sure did so the sequel is going to be interesting. A few background details were sparse, including the creation and workings of the room so I would have liked more details about the whys and whens which I think are critical in this type of world/book, I also had no idea in which year it took place but all in all I appreciated the concept.

It took me a little while to grasp Sarah Harian’s writing style which I still can’t pinpoint what was different to other books I have read, it felt a little choppy but I did enjoy her imaginative ideas and her notions of dealing with innocence versus guilt.

The storyline of The Wicked We Have Done is pretty unforgiving and ruthless, at times it read like a horror with characters dying a few chapters in, quite brutally. I don’t think it would be for everyone as it was a little gruesome but all in all I enjoyed the uniqueness of it.

Overall, The Wicked We Have Done is a great start to the series and nice debut for Sarah Harian - dealing with morals, ethics and science; I was intrigued by the authors’ creativity, the diverse cast of characters and the fact it is NA Dystopian! I’m definitely looking forward to reading the sequel, A vault of Sins which has an anticipated September 2014 release date.

Thank you kindly to Penguin / Intermix Books for the opportunity to read and review The Wicked We Have Done.


Sarah HarianAbout the author: 

Sarah Harian grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking some mountain or another in the Sierras, playing video games with her husband, or rough-housing with her dog.


  1. Totally get that this isn't for everyone but I am so happy we have a NA dystopian. The romance wasn't my favorite either but it didn't really bother me considering the circumstances. Looking forward to the next one!

    1. I completely agree Nereyda! we definitely need more variety in the NA genre. I really enjoyed this one & I'm keen to see which direction the author will take it in the next book - I can see them ending up back in that room ;)

  2. Oooh, a NA Dystopian by a debut author. Sounds intriguing!

    1. It was very intriguing! :) a combination of The Hunger Games with the room/arena & Divergent with the crimes/testing, it was a nice debut.

  3. I enjoyed this one, and agree the plot was a darker dystopian. I am anxious for the companion book and oooh novella

  4. Oh, Sharon . . . I'm glad you liked this, but sadly, it was not for me :( If I had been able to focus on the suspense and action, I probably would have liked it more, b/c you're right--it is intense. Whatever else I say about this book, I did blow right through it. But I had . . . other issues.

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  5. I remember hearing about this but never got around to reading it. Shame about the romance, but the premise sounds great and I like that it was an intense read!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

  6. This sounds pretty good. I just might have to check it out. Nice review!!

  7. I usually stick to YA but it does sound interesting. I might have a look at it.


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