Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
First Look: ***** The only reason I picked this up was because I like the cover. The bubble is cool, and I really want that dress. The concept didn't really excite me, as I don't like romance, and I figured it would be a ripoff of The Giver written for teen girls that want something a little fluffier. I have to say...I was pretty much right. Warning: I really, really, really love The Giver, so forgive me for comparing.
Setting: ***** It was very...bleh. It was very unoriginal. It was just The Giver all over again, with a few minor changes, and different names. Nothing at all stood out. I never got a feel for what it looked like. I learned the the Society worked, yeah, but what about, say, the street Cassia lived on? Her school? It never described any of that clearly enough for me to see it.
Characters: ***** I really couldn't have cared less about any of the characters. Cassia was the perfect picture of a Mary Sue. She was very flat, and there was nothing special about her to make me feel for her. I never cared. Xander was too perfect, the parents were too stereotypical, and the friends just weren't interesting. The only people that were worth reading about were Ky and her grandfather. The whole book just should've been written from Ky's perspective, because he's got such an interesting backstory. And the grandfather was just...lovable in that elderly person way.
Plot: ***** This is just a personal preference, but I thought there was too much focus on romance. Now, some romances are okay with me, but this just didn't stand out at all. Love triangle, ooh yay. Isosceles, I do believe*. It felt superficial and just didn't feel real. The thing that really bugged me, though was the fact that the Society is having war/border troubles or something. Now, that sounds exciting! People are actually in danger! Oh, wait, nobody cares. Moving on. That just left me scratching my head.
Uniqueness: ***** The whole just felt like a chicklit-ized tame version of The Giver. The worlds were the same. The whole attitudes of the people towards the worlds were the same. The only thing that was added was the romance.
Writing: ***** This was the part of this book that I really loved. Even though it was in fist person, present tense (I think), which usually bothers me, I liked it. That's the mark of good writing, right there, when you can pull that off without annoying me to death. Her style was very poetic, in a sort of way, and I just...liked it. It stood out to me, and flowed nicely, and just felt great altogether. The best part of this book.
Likes: The writing. The cover. Ky's backstory, but it was overshadowed by the romance...
Not-so-great: The fact that it was basically The Giver in a different format. I think everything is already covered above, except... Most of the people just struck me as pathetic. I didn't get what the big deal was when they took all the artifacts away. Yes, it's sad, and they meant a lot to these people, but...I don't think it's really worth sobbing your eyes out over. And Cassia had that poem for, what, four days? Without reading it? Who sucked out this girl's curiosity? I would've been tearing into it the moment I was alone. And the government was so totalitarian, it just made me angry. They've taken away people's imaginations, which makes me hate them. And everything is predicted. Although, I suppose that was the author's intent.
Total Score: ***** Eh. It was okay. Not bad, but I didn't particularly enjoy it, mostly because of the extreme lack of originality. It truly is a girly, fluffy version of The Giver, minus the creepy hauntingness. I suppose you'll enjoy it more than I did if you like romance. Try it if it looks interesting, but otherwise I really wouldn't bother. I never cared about the characters. Okay, now I feel like I'm being over-harsh because of The Giver. Sorry. But, on the other hand, I loved, loved, loved the writing! Soon I'll have to see how this compares to Delirium, the other super-hyped dystopian love story.
*Yes. I classify love triangles. Please stop staring. I suppose I'll have to explain that in a later post. This is what happens when you give a book blog to an Honors Geometry student.