OVERALL THOUGHTS: I picked up this book. I started reading it. I couldn’t put it down. I quickly finished it. I immediately (and desperately) looked into whether it was part of a series… because I wanted MORE!! It just…ended, and left me NEEDING to know what happens next! Thankfully, there are two more. I am a happy reviewer!
THE LOWDOWN: Set far into the future, The Woodlands tells us what life after a race war could be like. The people in charge go to great lengths to turn the population into “All Kind;” mixing all races together in a planned, calculated way to eradicate the different races, and just have one united ethnicity. The Superiors go to great lengths to achieve this goal and they are some scary people with scary ideas. They have come up with a plan to keep everyone productive, and in check. They groom the children from a young age, and test them to determine what their position in life will be. Then at 18, they take them away from home, and put them all in a school to teach them all about their new life… and the training is harsh
I don’t want to give too much more of the story away, because A) This book is really, really good, and I want you to read it for yourself… plus I’m a no-spoilers kind of gal, and B) This review would be REALLY LONG. Suffice it to say crazy, messed-up hijinks ensue, and you are going to hope and pray that nothing like this ever, ever happens to us in real-life. Ever.
Ms. Taylor is PHENOMENAL at giving us many rich, lush details, bringing both her characters and their surroundings to life. Not once did I wonder or wish. She gave me everything I wanted to know, and built her world beautifully. There was one part where I felt like I had to play a bit of catch-up, but it was brief, and I can see why she wrote it the way she did… the sudden and jarring switch-over made the scene that much more visceral and effective, and the confusion that comes along with it only makes it that much more of an intense ride.
The character development is done masterfully. Let’s be honest, sometimes YA characters (cough, GIRLS, cough,) can come off a little whiny and a lot needy. I did not get that vibe from Rosa at all. She does occasionally come off as angry and bitter, but with what she went through, who can really blame her. Joseph is the boy that all of us dreamed of when we were young and imagining our perfect dream guy. He’s a serious cutie, and super sweet to boot. And he loves Rosa. He’s just a great lead male. Love him! Sometimes, a lot more than Rosa (but I kind of get the impression that that’s exactly what the author’s intention was.)
It is YA. It is dystopian. If you don’t like these kinds of books, then this may not be your cup of tea. But it is so well-written, so engaging, that I think you might enjoy this book despite your misgivings. I most certainly did. Totally worth it, and I can’t wait to read (and review) the next two!
Oh and before you go, The Woodlands is perma-free so don’t hold back. Download, download, download.