In Dystopian, Young Adult



Author: E.R. Arroyo
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Self-pub
Format: E-Book
Recommended Reading: 14+




I have to say I am impressed. This awesome book teetered on the precipice of perfect. The author (Arroyo) brought her A game to the big boy field and almost knocked it out of the park…almost…but this is her first and I say “well done”. I try not to compare books to other works unless they are complete rip-offs. When that happens, I consider chucking the  the book across the room until I realize my Kindle warranty doesn’t carry a “broken because of stupid” clause, so I usually end up writing a scathing review on blatant plagiarism. Don’t worry Sovereign didn’t rip off any other stories, but I couldn’t ignore how the emotional and physical strength of the heroine drew a familiar resonance to the lead in Divergent, while the environmental setting and certain scenes (inside a tree trunk with a wounded boy; while trying not to get killed finding him food after he declares love through a drug induced haze) prompted remembrances of the insolvent world created in The Hunger Games. Although at times, it was weaker than those powerhouse gems, I found myself becoming more impressed that Arroyo, sans a big publishing house editor to jazz up the manuscript for mass consumer consumption, actually wrote a pretty damn good book.

Now down to the grit…

The story takes place in a bleak, post apocalyptic world. A nuclear holocaust destroyed everything, leaving only a small colony of humans protected by a rogue government, from mutant human savages who roam earth freely. The protagonist, Cori, is a rebellious 17-year-old constantly searching for more, something bigger than her confines within the captive and chemically lobotomized colony. Unlike others her age that were born into Antius, she was brought there when her dad was killed and never quite felt at home in a world where touching is illegal. But as we know, in the land of make-believe the human spirit cannot be broken without a fight and Sovereign gives you a battle worth every penny.

The story sets off with a frenetic voice, short sentences and frenzied situations. When I began the journey, I felt a little put off with the pacing of the writing. I thought it was better suited for a script, but that feeling faded once I got past the introductions and into a story that has enough action to make Arnold and Stallone run for the chopper.

Much like Divergent, Cori, the protagonist, is a kick-ass chick, that vomits too much and has a penchant for getting into trouble, but she is appropriately naïve based on her lot in life. She is not blind to what is going on around her or to her feelings and she accepts truth when it is proven. She is trusting, but not blind, and that is a quality that I really respect in a female heroine (especially when they are constantly being dumbed-down, while making ridiculous choices…ehem…Katniss Everdeen.) Unlike Divergent, the violence although plentiful, is not graphic, making Sovereign slightly more tolerable for younger audiences. But that doesn’t mean Arroyo pussyfoots around death. She offers it up by the truckload and it isn’t always the bad guys. And that is all I will say about that.

Don’t fret romantics, there is love and it is woven into the story organically. Arroyo doesn’t fill the space with cheesy dialogue and poor character choices, but mums the word because you really have to experience it without interference from a blogger hyped up on a great story and latte’s.

Overall, this is a well written book with plenty of twists and unexpected turns that will keep you up at night reading under the light of the moon. The only reason I didn’t give it a full five stars was I felt some crucial nail-biting moments needed more attention. Plus, It was also a little long-winded in certain areas, but I overlooked that once I got about a quarter way through.The ending implies a sequel is coming, but nothing goes wholly unresolved. I encourage you to check it out for yourself. I don’t promise a life changing experience, but I believe you will, at the very least, have a lot of fun reading it.

Sara O'Connor
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