I believe there are more than 4 books in the series. At the beginning of the book, you learn that people have different abilities, like being able to operate vehicles or machinery and so on, and only people with that ability can do it. In one of the other books, they go to a prison-like area, which is just a land mass surrounded by a giant wall. That is all I can remember, sorry. If someone has a close idea what it might be please let me know, it's driving me insane that I can't remember.

  • The people only being able to do certain things can you remember if it was literally if they dont have the ability they cant do something or only certain people were allowed to be trained to do certain things – severa Dec 26 '13 at 15:00
  • if i remember correctly its an ability like they have special stones in there body from birth or something, its been like 8 or so years since I've read it so yea, sorry for being so vague – Joseph Dec 27 '13 at 18:46
  • Career chips come to mind – Marriott81 Apr 29 '14 at 9:03

Could it be Child of the River from the undervalued Confluence series by Paul J McAuley? The protoganist in that trilogy is able to operate/command machines, a rare and valuable trait that develops over time. I don't remember a prison-like area as such but then again I haven't read the books for many years. The trilogy is out of print but a Kindle version is apparently due out in early 2014 so I might have to get that. The opening chapters are surprisingly and appealingly reminiscent of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, although that is not the point of the trilogy.

  • its possible, i also think i might have found it while looking at related posts, I believe it is Broken Sky by Chris Wooding, I may have gotten some of the things jumbled since its been so long, but I looked at that and it looked interesting, so ill try giving it a read too – Joseph Dec 31 '13 at 4:02
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    @Joseph: if it is that, please post an answer to your own question - thanks! – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Jan 29 '14 at 8:02

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