Fast forward and here we have Rachelle Dekker--daughter of one of my favorite authors Ted Dekker--writing a Christian dystopian and it was a no-brainer. I had to read it. Now, to be fair, I've had this book for a while and really didn't go through it as fast as I thought I would. That has some bearing on my review because if I'm not hooked enough to put aside things I *should* be doing to read, then it's not going to be my favorite book. That said, I was also very busy so that accounts for this late review. Ok, I'm done with the preamble though. Here's my review:
Matched meets one part Ted Dekker, meets one part crime drama, meets one part YA Dystopia. I know, that's a lot of parts but I feel like that was the different waves of thought I had for this book.
I'll start off by saying I wasn't sure what to expect. Per usual, I didn't read the back cover or blurbs about the book. I knew it was dystopian and I knew it dealt with identity, but that was about it. I dove in with anticipation and a little bit of wariness, unsure of what I'd find coming from such high expectations of Ted Dekker's writing and what I'd heard others say about the book.
To start off, I initially got a good feeling for the world. Ok, I thought, this could be interesting. I'm always curious to see how other authors create their dystopian worlds. But, the more I got into the book the less I discovered about the world. I am a huge fan of rich description and I didn't really find that here. I need something to help shape my mental images of the world and characters and, though I had some clues, I wished for a more. For total immersion.
Carrington Hale (first off, awesome name--and while we're on that subject, awesome names in general!) was a mellow chracter to me. I understood her plight and felt sorry for her at times, but I felt as if I couldn't get a firm grasp on who she was beneath the fact that she wasn't chosen. Granted, that's a large part of the book, but it felt a little like I wanted to shout at her and say do something. She was not brought into sharp contrast to me and instead kind of floated through the book and her relationships. Speaking of relationships, I really liked Remko! I won't spoil anything, but, though he doesn't say much, he was a firmer character to me. Though I would have loved to see even more of him!
As for the plot, I would say it was interesting yet understandable. That's where the Ted Dekker/Crime Show feelings came in. The villain was very "Dekker" in my opinion (not that this is a bad thing). I can appreciate a really bad guy doing bad things. Not that it was too graphic, but part of me always wishes for more from villains. They are often times too weak to really be "bad" and then you have to wonder, why were we scared in the first place? I digress...
The romance was...eh. I mean, the parts where the romance was described were great but the foundation to it was slightly contrived in my opinion. I personally didn't feel like they were on the page together enough to make it believable.
The rest of the cast of characters was well chosen (no pun intended)--with exception to Carrington's family. I just really didn't get a read on them aside from mom=bad and dad=nice, but both very weak in their roles. I did like Aaron's character (again, he felt very Ted Dekker-ish if I can use that as a descriptor). Obviously, I approve of Aaron's message and the way in which it's delivered was...interesting.
All in all, I'd have to say this book didn't wow me. I was easily distracted from it and wished there had been...more. More action, more compelling plot movement, more emotion, more feeling, more tension. Oh, and less name usage--maybe I'm just being nitpicky but I felt as if there was an overabundance of first name's used throughout the novel which made the writing feel stiff and choppy in points.
I will say I am interested in reading the second book because I'd like to see what Rachelle decides to do with the series. If you like YA Dystopian and are looking for a good message, I would recommend it to you--it may go over well with teen readers, though there are hints of violence to be aware of. Oh, and the cover is lovely. You all know I can't help but notice amazing covers!
Purchase: The Choosing
Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for―her Choosing ceremony―to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.
But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.
Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.
_______________I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.