Format: ARC from Random Buzzers
Read: February 20, 2012
First off, I hate the cover. Hate it. It has nothing to do with the actual content of the book and though it does catch your attention, it has no meaning. Second, I received this book through Random Buzzers to promote and review. I am not being paid except for the free copy I received.
I really liked this book. It's 4.5 stars for me, but rounded down to four simply because I didn't find it as amazing as some of my "most favorite read again and again" books. An average of one book out of every seven I await publication actually are as good as I think they will be. This book was delightfully so. I received it on Friday and tore through it. I would have read it in one sitting, but I had things I had to do over the weekend.
A lot of reviews are going around saying that they liked the idea but hated the execution and so on. I like to read a book at face value. I never expect anything to happen and let myself enjoy the ride. I think this contributed very highly to my perception of the story itself. There were good twists, a thrilling mystery, and enough action for me to have a hard time finding a stopping place to pause reading.
Callie was highly likable. I didn't adore her, but then do you adore every person you meet? She had pros and cons with more of an emphasis on the pros. Thinking back on my initial impression at the very beginning of the book (street rat, starving, wanting to protect her brother) to her becoming a "donor" she's very different. There's a bit of a void in the character development, but I think that is fairly consistent with the aspects of "donating" your body. Unfortunately, aside from the fellow "renters" Callie interacts with, little character development happens with the initial street rat possible love boy who takes care of her little brother alongside her. I do understand why her little brother and Michael would be lesser characters, but they felt a bit like a block of granite with half a face chiseled out. I hope they'll play a bigger role in the next book, ENDERS, whenever that comes out.
The execution of the plot idea was, in my opinion, handled very well. It was plausible (I hate those dystopians that are very vague about what happened to the population on Earth and why because the foundation crumbles under scrutiny) and was actually a piece of the story itself, not as a result of or in addition to. There were many roads this book could have traveled with many plot threads left hanging, but I felt a sense of satisfaction when I came to the end of the book that only comes from that creative balance of closure and no closure. Am I dying to get a hold of the next book right this moment? No, not really. But I do anticipate its publication and will read it when it comes out.
If you enjoy dystopians that aren't bogged down with too much emotional distraughtness or complicated jargon that flow fairly consistently, I think you ought to take this book for a spin. You might not be disappointed.