Book Review: The Killables by Gemma Malley

The Killables (The Killables, #1) Gemma Malley- The Killables

 Format- Paperback

 Source- Review copy

 Publisher- Hachette

 Publication date- 14th March, 2012

 Synopsis- Everyone accepted that people were different physically. But inside? Inside, they were different too. You just had to know how to tell, what to look for.
Evil has been eradicated. The City has been established. And citizens may only enter after having the ‘evil’ part of their brain removed. They are labelled on the System according to how ‘good’ they are. If they show signs of the evil emerging, they are labelled a K . . . But no one knows quite what that means. Only that they disappear, never to be seen again . . .

 Review- The protagonist in The Killables is Evie who has dreams and urges which she has been led to believe are evil. Her mother is quite punitive of her and is very keen to have her marry her ‘match’ Lucas ASAP. Only problem is, Evie has been secretly meeting her lover Raffy, Lucas’s brother and their relationship is now at risk of discovery. When things become messy, Evie and Raffy make plans to escape the system and break free.

Dystopian is all the rage at the moment and I have enjoyed reading various series that fall under this umbrella i.e. The Hunger Games, Delirium etc, so when I read the premise for The Killables I thought I would love this one too.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel The Killables really lived up to its potential. When I started to read it, the first thing I noticed was the similarities to the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver- love matches are prohibited and instead the ‘system’ matches partners to each other. In Malley’s series, evil has been eliminated by removing the evil part of the brain known as the amygdala. This was introduced by a crazy scientist and after a war (The Horrors) the operation was introduced to create a society that lived within a controlled system without ‘evil’ emotions. The society is divided into 4 classes- A, B, C and D with A’s being the most highly valued in society. When one tips over the edge of being a D and become classified evil… they then become a K which means they are Killable.

Okay, maybe I’m a little sceptical about the whole amygdala thing given the author provides a snippet about it from ‘Wikipedia’ (not the most reliable source) and I have a psychology degree and the one thing I remember about the amygdala is that it is the fear centre of the brain and it is needed for survival. So, I’m not really sure how the whole society believed the scientist when he said removing the amygdala would result in removing evil from the brain… but anyway that’s getting too technical.

There’s also a spiritual/ religious element to the story with the Brother running the town and a book of sentiments which is cherished like a bible. There were a couple of church-like scenes that obviously aimed to show the brainwashing/ cult-like workings of the system, but I felt like it was a bit much at times.

So, far my review probably sounds quite negative but I did actually like the book once it took off (slow to start due to world-building) and I was pleased by the various twists and turns in the story- in particular the love triangle between Evie with Raffy and his brother Lucas. The ending did actually leave me wanting more and I will likely read more in the series despite my initial impression of The Killables.

3.5/5 rating

Purchase book @

Fishpond/ Amazon/ Book Depository UK


  • I think I’ve read about the comparison to Delirium before but if it’s almost exactly the same, it would be a bit frustrating but this does sound like an interesting read!

    • I suppose it looks at the same issue from a different perspective. In Delirium they forbid love. In The Killables they forbid evil (which love falls under the umbrella of…).

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