My Review: This is a hard review for me to write. There were many things that I really liked about this novel, then there things that just kept me from loving it. I’m rather on the fence about it, so maybe I’ll work out whether or not I liked it by the end of this.
The world that Elana Johnson created was very well developed and intriguing to read about. As far as world building went, she did an excellent job. The whole concept of the Thinkers who essentially control every citizen was terrifying to think about. Every person is required to tune into brainwashing broadcasts and even physical touching is not allowed between men and women past a certain age. The Thinkers hold the mentality that they are keeping humanity from destroying itself, by thinking for them. It is true that humanity has an awful track record for putting individual needs before those of the whole community. Human beings are selfish creatures, and this is the justifying fact for what the Thinkers do. What’s truly scary is that this isn’t just an isolated city that does this. The whole entire world is under this way of thinking. It’s kind of hard to start a resistance when you have the whole entire world against you. There are factions of less controlled cities who are freethinkers. They don’t have to follow the ridiculous rules and are allowed some small amounts of freedom. Of course the brainwashed Goodies think that the Baddies are the scum of the earth. Yet as the story progresses the lines between good and bad are blurred beyond recognition.
The one thing that I just couldn’t completely accept were the “superpowers” some people had. Premonitions, soothsaying, mindreading, and being able to literally will things to do whatever you wanted. Maybe there’s some scientific explanation for it that has yet to be explained, who knows. It just sort of clashed with my view of a dystopian novel. It’s unique in the fact that it incorporates both dystopian themes and some more supernatural ones, so I appreciate the new twist. Yet at the same time I don’t know how I feel about it.
Vi was an interesting character. She was full of spunk and I loved her attitude. She doesn’t want to be one of the brainwashed Goodies that she is surrounded by. She breaks rules as often as she can, though she tries to not be caught. She was a very entertaining and tough MC and I greatly enjoyed her character. I enjoyed Jag just as much. He was the type of easy going guy that you can’t help but smile at his wit. He was smart and entertaining and was a perfect match for Vi. I enjoyed their interactions a lot, yet at the same time there were things that bothered me about their relationship. First of all it moved rather fast, but when you’re running for your lives it’s easy to get swept away in the moment. Their relationship just seemed full of vicissitudes. They just flipped back and forth from working together to bitching at each other for really stupid things. Both of their reactions were so overblown at really small things. I felt that Vi especially was being a drama queen and overreacting. It really just kind of ruined the story for me.
The ending really surprised me. I wouldn’t have called that in a million years. Despite my slight problems with this book I’ll definitely be reading the second one. I really have no idea how the story is going to continue. It will be interesting to see what Elana does.