Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: XVI

Synopsis: Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

My Review: I have to admit, the first time I read the synopsis for XVI I really wasn’t that intrigued.  It sounded interesting, but not something that was going to hook me in.  Boy was I wrong.  I was sucked in immediately.  The world that Julia Karr creates is captivating and beyond complex.  Comparable to Scott Westerfeld and Brent Weeks in mastery of world development, XVI truly transports you through time.  Her creation of new slang, along with the culture were simply amazing to behold.  The amount of creativity and ingenuity that went into creating this world is truly awe inspiring.  I just can’t get over it.  One of the most difficult things to do as a writer is creating a whole new world and Karr does it beautifully.   

The Governing Council rules the world.  The illusion of peace and equality that it projects is nothing but a farce.  Freedom of speech, press, and personal rights have all disappeared.  Society has been brainwashed into being docile, accepting anything that the GC says.  Nina accepts her role in society, albeit a bit more reluctantly.  She thinks the sex-teen craze is degrading and wishes no part in it.  Her sixteenth birthday is fast approaching and sex is the last thing she wants to do.  Her life is normal until tragedy strikes, suddenly turning Nina’s world upside down.  Nina soon discovers that the NonComs are not a radical group the GC makes them out to be.  They’re fighting for the very rights that the world has lost, and Nina is sucked right in the middle of it.  

I’ve already gushed about how well thought out this world is.  Everything from technology, consumerism, government, and even slang is flawlessly laid out. You can’t help but feel immersed into the story.  I can’t even properly relay just how awesome it was.  I really found the societal structure to be fascinating as well.  People are now divided by tiers, much like older caste systems.  The only means of moving up are by luck or through FeLS, a glorified escort service.  Society has become completely twisted.  The fact that every girl at the age of 16 is branded like cattle with a tattoo that proclaims her fair game is completely sickening.  What’s even worse is that no one holds any accountability.  A poor girl is raped and set on fire by a couple of guys, and yet the girl is blamed for being overly promiscuous.  Messed up?  Hell yes.  

As far as characters went I loved every single one of them.  Even Sandy who is obsessed with sex-teen ways and flaunts her sexuality to the max.  Annoying yes, but you can’t really hold it against her.  I found Nina and Sal to be a wonderful couple and absolutely loved Wei.  I honestly can say I could not find one thing that I did not like in this novel.  Okay, well that’s partially true.  There was one very minor aspect.  As far as the plotline went there just seemed to be a lot of PSYCHE! Moments.  Like JK! It happened about three times so that’s really the only reason it blipped on my radar.  Otherwise I’ve got nothing to criticize.  It was an amazing story in a fascinating world.  Nina was a wonderful MC and I loved every single minute of her story.  A wonderful addition to YA dystopia and I’m eagerly waiting for more! 


flanpnhfpnanfnFN said...

WELL I think it's safe to say you enjoyed this one huh? :P

I'm really glad you read XVI! I'm even more glad you liked it enough to rave about it ^-^ I'm really exited to read the sequel.

I really enjoyed reading your review!