Tag Archive | dystopia

REVIEW: Starters by Lissa Price

Pub. Date: March 13th 2012
Publisher: Delacourt Press
Pages: 368
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Science-Fiction, Dystopia
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★.5

HER WORLD IS CHANGED FOREVER

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined… .

Let me start off by saying this is one of the most brilliant YA debuts I have read in a while. I absolutely adored this novel. It has everything I want in a dystopian read: fast paced, originality, great characters, lots of action, and lots of feelings because of said characters. The world Price weaved was scary. Like a lot of dystopians you’re left with a sense of foreboding. This world, or something like it, could actually happen in the future. Near or far, it’s hard to tell, but it’s a possibility. The world of Starters is especially unnerving because it seems so realistic, so like something that could happen down the road. A world gone mad because of war, a country cut off, half it’s population dead. You’re either really old (an Ender) or a minor (a Starter) and if you’re a Starter with no living relative, you’re doomed to live in the streets or in prison like Institutions. Scary, right?

Then there’s Prime Destinations: a company where the unclaimed minors can go to rent out their bodies to wealthy Enders. Yep. They rent out their bodies. They take over for however long they pay for. They walk around as a teenager while their real body is safe at PD’s headquarters. The book opens with Callie walking in. She needs money to take care of her sick brother and if she rented out her body to Prime, she would have more than enough for a house and food for a year for them. But she’s reluctant at first. She’s weary of the contract, of everything but in the end she has no other choice.

But then Callie wakes up… the rental is not over. She wakes up in the middle of a nightclub and is able to communicate with the renter. That’s when the ball gets rolling. That was when I thought wow this book is going to be hard to put down.

I’ve read a few reviews that have said some of the characters don’t have chemistry. I don’t see that. I think there are things to develop and flesh out more with certain characters but it’s a series. What about Michael, for example, but I’m sure things will be developed further in book two. I also hope we learn more of Callie’s backstory in book two. I don’t think we got too much of it. There was some, and enough to kind of tide me over, but I really want to know more.

All in all, Starters was fantastic. However, the massive cliffhanger made me want to claw my face off because I’m not sure how I’m going to wait for the second instalment.

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REVIEW: Legend by Marie Lu

Pub. Date: November 29th 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 305
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Dystopia, Science-Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America’s two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history….

Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family’s door with an X—the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it.

Born to an elite family in Los Angeles’ wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic’s most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country’s highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country—until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital.

Only one person could be responsible. Day. And now it’s June’s mission to hunt him down. The truth they’ll uncover will become legend.

I wanted to read this book from the second I read the synopsis on GoodReads. It sounded like it had everything I wanted in a dystopia so I was surprised to find it took me a while to get into. For whatever reason, the story just couldn’t catch my interest until after about 100 pages. But I will say, after that, I was hooked and found it hard to put down.

The story is told from two different people’s POVs and the story wouldn’t have worked if that were the case. You see the Republic, the war, and everything else from two very different – yet very similar, we realize – people. If it was only told from Day’s POV, or only from June’s, I think I wouldn’t have enjoyed the book as much as I did. With Day, you see someone who was born into slums, who grew up with little and who became a vigilante of sorts. With June, you get to see the life of a prodigy, born into luxury who will be an agent for her Republic. Then it all comes together perfectly.

If you’ve read The Hunger GamesDivergentShatter Me or any other traditional dystopian novel, you will definitely like Legend. It has all the classic characteristic: a sense of a utopia, but with obvious flaws if you look beneath the surface. What happens after the Trials? What of those who fail? Is it really true that they go to labour camps? There is a sense of very little questioning of the Government, until Day comes along.

Overall I was left feeling satisfied. There are still questions and things left unanswered but the wait until book 2 won’t be excruciating because it didn’t end on a cliffhanger.

REVIEW: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Pub. Date: November 15th 2011
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 338
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Dystopia, Science-Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war— and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Originally this got my attention because I thought oh, her touch can kill! How Rouge! For weeks it sat on my shelf but after finishing another book I was wondering, what the hell can I read next? Shatter Me was really shiny and let’s face it, I’m a kid so I grabbed off of my shelf and dove right in.

I was hooked immediately. The writing style is what got me. It’s first person but it’s like being inside of Juliette’s fractured mind. It seems like you’re reading a diary, almost. Now, I said almost. While Juliette has a notebook, that’s not what we’re reading. It’s talked about a lot in the beginning, then some after the middle, but it’s not what we’re reading. These are her uttermost thoughts and at times they’re fractured, fast, jumbled, or clear. Also, the use of strike throughs is fabulous. You get to know Juliette even more. You areinside of her mind. I’ve never read a book that used this strike through technique. It’s new, it’s fresh and it is so, so wonderful.

YA dystopia is a genre on fire. It’s everywhere now with The Hunger Games, Divergent, Gone, etc, but this book, ladies and gents, is so so great it kind of puts them all to shame. Yes, even THG. To me, anyway. Shatter Me has elements of The Hunger Games but also of XMen. You begin to realize there are superheroes in a world gone mad. In a country where the government (The Reestablishment) is a bucket of corrupted lies. Where the citizens are cold and broken. But in all dystopias, there is hope.

As in all dystopias, in most YAs, there is a romance. Of course there’s a romance. But I find Juliette and Adam so refreshing, so different from most of the ones out there now. I didn’t find myself rolling my eyes every so often at them as I find with even ships I love. Adam needs Juliette as much as she needs him. It’s a perfectly crafted romance that made me have to put the book down and go find someone – or Twitter – to gush about. Because damn, it gave me all of the feelings and then some. That hasn’t happened in a while, YA ship book wise.

The plot is wonderful. Not too slow and not too fast. It’s just the right pacing that leaves you staying up till 4 in the morning wondering where the last four hours of your life have gone. There are twists, turns, action and romance, all structured superbly. Then there’s the characters. You will fall for each one in their own way, mark my words. Even Sector leader, Waren. Is he a monster? Is he human? Is he misunderstood? Or is he insane? I’m still not sure.

There is no cliffhanger with this book. There is a wonderful ending that will lead right into the sequel set to come out in Feb. 2013. That wait is going to be torture, let me tell you. But I’m sure I will re-read this book many times over between then.

REVIEW: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Pub. Date: November 15th 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 323
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Dystopia
Rating: ★★★★

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It’s there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she’s never heard before … and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

I kind of stumbled upon The Pledge. I’ve read Derting’s book The Body Finder and I had no idea she even had another series until I stumbled upon it while I was browsing Amazon for something else entirely. I had no idea it was so newly released, either. But I bought it because I’m a sucker for a dystopian.

As I said, I’ve read a LOT of dystopian YAs. I’m a sucker for the ever expanding genre. I liked the idea of all the different queendoms, and Ludania being the focus of the book, obviously, and Queen Sabara’s cruel rule. The book was also different in the sense that it changed POVs from Charlie’s first person to Max’s, Xander’s or The Queen’s third person POV every once in a while and that made me get a rounded feel for everything that was going on.

I thought the relationship between Max and Charlie was a little rushed at first, but it was later explained why, so it ceased to bother me. There are a lot of great twists and turns in the book. It is never too slow or dragging. I honestly couldn’t put it down for a good while because I had to know what happened next. Were they safe? What the hell was going on?

All in all this is a promising new dystopian YA series about life, love and change. I think I like the genre, the book, so much because I can’t help but wonder what if even after I put it down, even after I finish it. What if i ends like this? What if, ten, one hundred, two hundred years down the line life is like this? The oppression, the classes, the languages, the medieval hangings in the middle of city-square… It could happen. All of it.