Remember how I didn’t want to read Divergent because a friend of mine kind of wanted to set it on fire? Well, that happened, and also that same friend subsequently read Legend and wanted to marry it and have its babies, so it ended up on my list of things to read. And then I actually liked Divergent, so I figured this would have to be pretty good, and so when I was done with Independent Study and it was the most handy book on my desk, I picked it right up.
I may have made a couple of mistakes, there. And reading the acknowledgements may have been another. Ugggh.
Okay, so, story-wise, this book sounds pretty cool. It’s got a dual narrative, which I like a lot, split between the genius military girl June and the flunky criminal Day, the former of whom is charged with apprehending the latter. You get to view the world from the point of view of the haves and the have-nots, and because June is chasing Day you get some of that fun repeating narrative where one person sees things just a little differently than the other, which is always good.
There’s also an ingenious background to the story, which is that it is set in a future world with fighting factions blah blah, not the important part, the important part is that there is some big test that people have to take and June scored perfectly and Day scored so badly that he was sent off to the mines or whatever, and this is the story of what happens after that test. Not the story of ending the testing, like The Testing series or The Hunger Games, but the before part of that where everyone is still more or less okay with the whole thing. Awesome.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find the book to be terribly well-written. The twists and turns were obvious almost from the beginning, except for the ones that came absolutely out of nowhere to push the story along (cough codebreaking cough), and many of the problems faced by our characters were really the result of poor planning unbecoming of an alleged military genius.
But of course you can probably blame that last part on the fact that this book turns into a love story between our two narrators, which barf, and also which, according to my interpretation of the acknowledgements, could have been avoided altogether if we had just stuck with the Les Mis template. Or we could have had Javert and Jean Valjean making out, which, actually, would sell really well amongst certain of my friends. A free idea to you, if it hasn’t already been done (let me know if it’s been done)!
So, in the end, it’s kind of a wash. I wanted to like the book, and I liked a lot of the parts of the book, and maybe if I hadn’t read it immediately after something that was doing all the things I wanted it to re: love stories it wouldn’t have been so grating. But I did and it was and it just wasn’t fun or interesting enough to lure me into the next book. (But if you’ve read the next book and think I would like it, I might reconsider.)
Recommendation: For those who need yet another horrible future to worry about, and those who want something just a little different from the current crop of YA dystopias.