Review: All These Things I've Done is the first part in the Birthright trilogy. It's set in 2082/83 and is told in retrospect by the lead character Anya Ballantine. The world is stuttering along with rationing and some (currently) everyday items such as chocolate and caffeine are now banned.
At the time of the book Anya has just turned sixteen. She is the daughter of a deceased crime-lord and is the de-facto head of her little family. Her Nana is bedridden and soon to die, her older brother Leo was mentally disabled in the car crash that occurred when their mother was shot and their younger sister Natty is only twelve. Nana is the legal guardian but if/when she dies Leo will be in charge until Anya reaches eighteen.
Anya is trying to keep her head down and get through without attracting the attention of the authorities however things begin to go wrong when the unwanted advances of her boyfriend Gable turns him into her ex- and when he spreads rumours she spreads hot lasagne over his head. An attempt to smooth things over leads to Anya giving him some Ballantine Chocolate (for that was her father's business) however when Gable becomes very sick Anya ends up in a children's reformatory suspected of attempted murder.
Here enters the next problem for Anya. She has made friends with the new boy at school, Win, who just happens to be the son of the Assistant DA (who is working on being the DA). Win's father helps her and gets her released but wants her to not date his son.
Things do jog along for a while and though Anya and Win become an item the world does not come crashing down on them, at least not at first. Then life gets serious again, a death and some shootings put Anya's life and happiness on the line.
I loved All These Things I've Done though I read it with an increasing amount of dread as I waited for things to go wrong for Anya. Anya's a strong, determined character and a witty narrator and Win is almost too good to be true. I did wonder why his Dad didn't encourage the relationship so that he could spy on Anya and bring her criminal relatives down however his attitude is believable for an ambitious politician. The characters are well drawn and the future world created is described in enough but not graphic detail and I was intrigued by a comment from “future Anya” that “nobody was much interested in novels back then” and I wonder from when she's speaking and what that future is like.
Will Anya and Win be together, will Anya take over the running of the family “business” or can she be more like her mother, a crime scene investigator? Some answers perhaps will be in part two, Because It Is My Blood which is published in the US on 18 September 2012 (and hopefully not too much later than that in the UK).