RECEIVED A FREE COPY IN EXCHANGE FOR A REVIEW
****THERE ARE NO SPOILERS****
THE GIST: I wanted to love this book. I mean I was really, really rooting for it. I am a huge fan of young adult dystopian and love to root for the underdog, but I found myself conflicted with this one. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but love? Sadly, that emotion never came, but there is potential so I might get that love connection with the follow-up.
SYNOPSIS: “Brynn Aberdie has everything but freedom…but everything has a way of changing. When Brynn loses her family, her security, and her handouts, she is left with one last option, and it guarantees one of two things: freedom or death.
Brynn vows to find that freedom, and soon learns a lesson many in One United have already learned – by failing to protect their rights, Citizens have forfeited their lives with little hope to ever recover them.”
THE LOWDOWN: This book started off great. Ms. Hunter obviously spent a tremendous amount of time tapping into the emotions of her heroine’s opening tragedy. The feeling of loss in the devastating first pages is portrayed with an honest depth and a very organic voice. I was impressed…initially. However, the proceeding acts did not follow suit as strongly. The actions of the protagonist Brynn didn’t head down a believable path. It wasn’t that her actions were unbelievable, it was that her behavior was inconsistent with her internal monologue. Brynn was scared, yet she wanted to take on the world. She was skeptical, yet a believer. I found myself disliking her (not always, but most of the time) and that disappointed me. It gets tedious being stuck in the head of a girl you aren’t that fond of.
But T…now that’s a different story.
The male protagonist (His name was T, not the best choice, but hey…I got used to it after dispelling images of a large African-American man, sporting gold chains and a tri-hawk.) was great. I thought he was a fantastic character. Strong, smart, sarcastic and at times sexy, but I wasn’t in his head…I was in hers (too bad I couldn’t switch). I loved his determination and knew from the beginning, if a war was on the horizon, he would be the one to follow. Not the wishy-washy girl I found irritatingly fickle.
The action scenes were what kept me on edge and plodding through. I thought they were fleshed out and very interesting, sometimes nail-bitingly so. Hunter wrote stress vividly and I panicked along with the characters. Her creativity and skill at writing shined through here. I loved her world and how the characters managed to survive (or not) under such an oppressive rule. It took a real deep look at politics. One I felt Hunter was a little too heavy-handed with, especially concerning ideological statements. For instance, Brynn’s focus on God felt disingenuous and forced and I felt like I was being preached too, which I hate, so that left a slightly bad taste in my mouth. And although I loved the concepts behind the government, I had a hard time with the way it was revealed. Instead of using action to slowly uncover the oppressive, cruel behavior of the leaders and their conspiracies, we are given a play-by-play via dialogue. It became trite and felt clinical. Hunter handed me the information without making me work for it and I like a challenge.
That being, now that we have a thorough knowledge of what Brynn is up against and we know Ms. Hunter can write well, I have “faith” that the follow-up will be more of the good and less of the – meh. But check it out for yourself. You may find the parts I disliked not so displeasing and find yourself in love.