Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Dystopian

Mini Rant Monday: Glitch

 

Mini Rant Monday

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Summary From GoodreadsGlitch

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

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It’s time for a rant, befitting of a Monday such as this. Enjoy!

Glitch is a bit of a mess. It has parts that I really enjoyed, especially when the action was able to sweep me away a time or two, but there were glaring issues with it as well. Let’s start with the main character, Zoe.

Zoe is supposed to be emotionless, essentially a robot right down to the chip, but she glitches and is able to discover emotions and colors and such, albeit rather slowly in terms of comprehension. The problem is there isn’t a time in the book where she actually is emotionless, even when she supposedly reconnects to the Link network. I understand that she has been learning to keep a tiny bit of her subconscious active while being under the Link presence, but at no point does she act fully robotic without constantly saying how hard she is concentrating on keeping that blank facade going. It’s really frustrating.

Basically she's this guy.

Basically she’s this guy.

Also, Zoe is a tad slow on the uptake when it comes to… well everything really. She follows the lead of anyone who she perceives to have a clue about what’s going on, acting more like a puppy than a human. She doesn’t understand what’s going on most of the time, can’t seem to grasp when people are feeling emotions that might lead to harm for her or those she cares about, and half the time she starts having crying fits and hyperventilating when she is stressed. I’ve mentioned in other reviews about characters just being shells that go in the direction the author needs them to at any given time, but this is probably the worst case I’ve seen.

Then there are the relationships. You’ve got your pick! Behind door number one is insta-love, our old favorite! Behind door number two is the aggressive arse that nearly turns into a rapist at multiple points in the story, aren’t you excited?! While Zoe seems to understand her feelings (as much as can be expected with her) pretty quickly about who she likes and who she loves, it doesn’t stop her from going between the two boys like a ping pong ball, randomly going in one direction or the other based on who convinces her more at the time.

I Hate Instalove

Oh, right, the world, you probably want to know how this dystopian world is realized correct? It’s a cliche. Surprise, surprise, there was some sort of world war and to fix it some scientists and power-hungry leaders got together and programmed a chip so that everyone would behave. Oh, except they stripped the bits that make them human. As usual there are people that broke through somehow, developed a resistance, and now they are trying to make a difference. The resistance on the outside (in this case the surface) and the dystopian rat maze underground in a grid-like gray labyrinth.

As bad as all of that may sound, I actually enjoyed some of what happened with the story. Even though Anastasiu wasn’t able to convey from her MC what it would be like under the Link, she was able to show what discovering each new emotion would feel like, or how powerful the little things around us would be to someone who had never experienced taste, color, or the expansiveness of the sky. There is a better appreciation you can gain from a piece like this about the beauty of our world, especially compared to the one in Glitch.

that's nice i guess

On a less deep level, Glitch does a really nice job at displaying powers, and the variety of ways that they can be brought out. To me at least, those powers were just extensions of various feelings, and Anastasiu seemed to be using them to show an even greater depth of the feelings and emotions we can have for one another, the strongest (as corny as it is) being love. Although, hatred makes a pretty close second in this one, but the point remains.

Still, as cool as telekinesis is, I never felt like Zoe was the badass that she was supposed to be. Without there being a real connection formed for me to care about her, I guess the rest just felt too unreal, too forced. It could have been anyone using those cool powers, Zoe doing it was simply the way it happened in this case, but it didn’t feel like they belonged to her.

The rest of the characters, while somewhat interesting in their own ways, felt way too creepy for me to get behind and enjoy. Sorry future boy, but being obsessed about someone before you meet them and then being all over them when you do is not endearing, it’s just eerie.  Don’t even get me started on Max. *shivers*

Threw Up

So no, I won’t be recommending this book, nor will I continue the series. It might get better now that the facade of being a “drone” is gone there won’t be any reason for Zoe to pretend, but it doesn’t matter. I just can’t get over the variety of issues presented with Glitch. The characters were a minus for me, the “love” interests even more so, and the world wasn’t original. Blah. Thanks as always for reading.

One Smiling Frodo w Background

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Book of the Week: Horde

BookOfTheWeek

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: Horde by Ann Aguirre

Summary from GoodreadsHorde

The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they’re not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn’t run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade’s love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn’t been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

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Book of the Week is often one of the toughest posts that I write each week, which makes little sense seeing as how I should be able to go on and on about it, but when there is so little (if anything) to criticize all I can do is gush. With Horde it is no different. So prepare yourself for all of the positive feelings!

Horde, just like Rogue last week, is an excellent ending to a fantastic trilogy. It was the perfect blend of heartbreak and elation, thrilling action and tender romance. Horde is the type of book you stay up until 4 AM reading, and when you finish it you have to sit for another hour just to digest it all. There are so few books that have writing as powerful as Horde does, and considering the type of main character Deuce is, that is all the more impressive.

Let’s start with the action because that’s what Horde is filled with. Sure, some down time happens now and again, but for the most part these people are moving it across the world at a pretty fast clip. There are major battles that were written in amazing detail thanks to all of the research Aguirre did into similar wars. Add to that some cross country style running, skirmishes in the forests with traps and cunning tactics, and so many types of weapons displays it will make your head spin, and that makes for one wild and fun ride.

headspin

Oh my goodness the characters are incredible. O_O I fell in love with all of them and Horde had me going from incredibly sad, to super excited, and then to freaked the heck out because Aguirre puts them through hell and then some. Deuce is such a different MC from anything I’ve experienced. She’s so socially awkward and hyper-focused on the battle ahead that she misses and doesn’t experience a lot of what normally is the central topics in a story, and it makes for a very interesting perspective. Deuce is fiercely loyal once she counts you as a friend/family member, one badass fighter, and the transformation she goes through from Enclave to Horde is fascinating to experience.

There are so many other great characters, from Tegan the healer, to Stalker the bad boy turned softie, to Fade the love interest. The list never really ends with this series, which is what makes the battles so freaking tough to endure. Every loss is a big blow, all of them have lasting impacts.

I Love Them All

Since I brought up the love interest I should probably touch on the romance in Horde, and the series in general. While all of this crazy action is going on and everyone is simply trying to survive, Aguirre manages to display a wide range of romance types and developing emotions. Of course Fade and Deuce (the MCs) are going to be a big one, and their romance is fantastic, but there are so many other sweet pairings! Stone and Thimble and their easy-going relationship (beginning of the series), Momma Oaks and Edmund as the ideal parental unit (Outpost & Horde), and even a hard to read type like Spence and Tully (Horde). The diversity and beautiful nature of them all is outstanding.

All of these wonderful things are contained in an equally impressive world that Aguirre created in the series. There was the tunnels and underground civilization of Enclave, which was dark and grungy but so alive at the same time. Then came the outside world in Outpost where Aguirre was able to take a character like Deuce and show how amazing all of the little things we see every day can be to one who hasn’t experienced it before. Finally, Horde showed readers beautiful forests, a huge variety of town structures and types from garrisons to standard villages, and the wonders of an island paradise.

It's so beautiful

 

Every bit of Horde and the Razorland series was epic. Horde might not be the ending I wanted in terms of some character arcs (because I’m selfish and love them all), but it was the right one. To try and fight for paradise you have to make sacrifices and incur losses along the way, and Horde proves that. If you haven’t read this series and want one of the best dystopian ones out there, then this is for you. Heck, if you just want great stories then the Razorland trilogy is for you as well. Thanks as always for reading.

Five Smiling Frodos w Background


Book of the Week: The Murder Complex

BookOfTheWeek

Book of the Week

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Summary from GoodreadsThe Murder Complex

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

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The Murder Complex does live up to its name. It is full of violence, of gore, dead bodies, and killings galore. The book is pretty action packed while keeping a steady, sometimes even methodical pace, as the main characters strive to learn more about themselves and the world they live in. It’s dystopian meets thriller in the best of ways.

Meadow is a young bad-ass that is all about survival and fighting through any obstacles she believes are in her way. She’s ruthless when she has to be, a protector of those few she holds dear, and a sweet big sister to Peri. I will say that I found Meadow to be a bit slow on the uptake in certain situations and also very quick to believe large shifts in her reality without a second thought. She doesn’t waver, but she doesn’t really question much either, choosing to attack first and worry about the rest later. She kind of reminds me of someone…

katnisseverdeen

Zephyr is a very intriguing character because of how different his world view and perspective is from Meadow’s. He’s been in the slums all of his life, living under the boot of authority, and despite that he is quite the funny guy and usually has a positive and light outlook. He’s just as devoted to those he cares about as Meadow, but he’s better at expressing those feelings in a seemingly normal way. Watching him learn more about who and what he is really was fascinating, even if it was pretty obvious.

That obviousness carries through the entire book. The Murder Complex isn’t going to surprise you very much in terms of plot, it is straightforward and fine with that being the case. However, luckily it doesn’t need to be shocking or incredibly innovative because it takes those dystopian tropes and uses them extremely well. The book is good at what it wants to do, and shock and awe simply isn’t it, but there is enough substance for it not to be needed.

Instalove

The romance in the book is rather insta-love for my taste and I’m not sure how much it adds, if anything. Perhaps in the future books for this series there will come a time when the way the romance is set up will work to its benefit, but for now there just wasn’t a lot of depth there, or reasoning behind them falling the way they did. It was a little disappointing, but romance isn’t why you’re getting The Murder Complex anyway.

The action scenes and the descriptions of bodies and weapons are excellent. The banter between characters is solid and the familial bonds are strong. I was left wanting for more information about what happened to the world and why things got to be so bad so quickly, because the brief bit that this book described wasn’t enough. I’m hopeful that the character development and the bonds they create will improve in the coming sequels. Thanks as always for reading.

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Fade to Black by Francis Knight: Frodo’s Review

Fade to Black

Summary From GoodreadsFade to Black

From the depths of a valley rises the city of Mahala.

It’s a city built upwards, not across—where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under.

Rojan Dizon doesn’t mind staying in the shadows, because he’s got things to hide. Things like being a pain-mage, with the forbidden power to draw magic from pain. But he can’t hide for ever.

Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic. And unlucky for Rojan—this is going to hurt.

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When I decided to buy Fade to Black it was for a few reasons; I really liked the cover, the idea of the city built upward to a greater extent then even what we have today outside of perhaps some Asian countries, but most of all I thought this would be a really interesting and fast-paced action story with some magical elements. I certainly got what I bargained for with the first two areas, the cover is still a really nice design and looks great on my shelf, and the descriptions of the city were excellent and gave me a vivid depiction in my head as I went through the adventure.

However, the aspect I had been looking forward to most, the action story with magical powers, was not quite what I had in mind. I knew with a title like Fade to Black that the odds were this story would have a darker edge to it, and I was actually quite pleased to find that was the case, but it was the action parts that were somewhat lacking.

The beginning of the story is very slow and Knight is incredibly methodical in how he sets up the later stages, and while he does a good job in foreshadowing, there is almost too much build up and not enough substance to keep me going save for my desire to see where this went based on my feelings prior to reading. The characters are somewhat interesting and the world itself is certainly intriguing and I wanted to know more, but I didn’t feel a tie to anything that was going on. Simply put, I had very little emotional investment for the first third of the book or so.

Let Me Love You

Rather than having the reader organically develop feelings and connections with the characters as they go along, it seemed like Knight felt or understood that there was little there to create any empathy, and so instead they threw a very disturbing and gut-wrenching scene in and figured that would do the trick. I can’t say that it did, all it achieved was ensuring what I already had assumed, this book is dark at its core.

While it may seem like I didn’t like Fade to Black, and for quite a while that was the case, toward the latter half of the book I did finally connect with some of the characters and when the action picked up I was swept up and brought along for the ride. The displays of magic near the end of the story were great and the tension was very real and impactful. The romantic aspects as well as the fear and hope concerning the people of the Pit were excellent and their agony became my own.

Life is Pain

“What about the main characters?” you might ask. Rojan is kind of a sleaze-ball, and only the horrible things he sees first hand were able to bring any kind of good character out of him, but he sticks to character and there is something to be said for that even if he isn’t someone you really root for or like. Jake is a traumatized woman who turned to weapons and the classic icy exterior in order to cope. She also has the stereotypical softer core, but I guess there are stereotypes for a reason because it works for the most part.

that's nice i guess

Pasha is the last “main” character, but I don’t want to say too much about him because it would give a lot away. Unfortunately, Pasha does bring the religious undercurrent that permeates the book, and not in the best of ways either. I couldn’t tell if Knight was on a particular side when it came to that, and maybe there wasn’t a specific religious message given, but the way it was done felt slimy and not at all satisfying (Lion King anyone?).

Eww, gross

Overall the book was alright, but nowhere near meeting my expectations for it. The beginning was too slow, the characters too often were stereotypes and cliches and little else, and by the time the action and magical elements picked up most readers will probably have checked out from boredom or the seedier bits that weren’t expressed in the summary. It isn’t one that I would recommend, but not a “don’t read” either. Thanks as always for reading.

Two Smiling Frodos w Background


Waiting on Wednesday #20

Waiting On Wednesday hosted by Breaking The Spine

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.

For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

Set For Release On: September 23rd, 2014

Summary From GoodreadsIn a Handful of Dust

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

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I know this is going to be a really popular pick this week because OH MY GOODNESS LOOK AT THAT COVER!!!! O_O *stares*

Seriously though, so freaking pretty, worth a buy just to have it on my shelves, and goodness do I want that book! I really enjoyed Not a Drop to Drink and IaHoD is going to tell the story from Lucy’s perspective which is AWESOME! This is a great dystopian series (at least based on book 1), I know McGinnis is going to do more wonders with this one, oh, and did you see the summary? ROAD TRIP!!! Yes please, thank you, can I have it now? o_o

Can’t wait for this book, it is really far off…but I’ll make do somehow. What are your thoughts on IaHoD’s cover? Have you read Not a Drop to Drink, and if so are you excited for book 2 or is this not the series for you? What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post and I will make sure to stop by! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! ^.^


Official Blog Tour Review of Three by Kristen Simmons + Giveaway!

Three_Tour_Banner

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I really enjoyed Three, in my belief the best in the trilogy, and one of the better series finishes that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. A big thank you to Book Nerd Tours, Kristen Simmons, and Tor Teen for giving me an ARC to enjoy, and for letting me be a part of this fabulous blog tour! My stop on the tour is a review and spotlight of the book, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post for your chance to win all sorts of wonderful prizes! ^.^

THREE

Synopsis

Kristen Simmons’ fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series continues in Three.

Ember Miller and Chase Jennings are ready to stop running. After weeks spent in hiding as two of the Bureau of Reformation’s most wanted criminals, they have finally arrived at the safe house, where they hope to live a safe and quiet existence.

And all that’s left is smoking ruins.

Devastated by the demolition of their last hope, Ember and Chase follow the only thing left to them—tracks leading away from the wreckage. The only sign that there may have been survivors.

With their high profile, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amidst the ruins of abandoned cities as they follow the tracks down the coast, eventually finding refugees from the destroyed safe house. Among them is someone from Chase’s past—someone he never thought he’d see again.

Banding together, they search for a place to hide, aiming for a settlement a few of them have heard about…a settlement that is rumored to house the nebulous organization known as Three. The very group that has provided Ember with a tiny ray of hope ever since she was first forced on the run.

Three is responsible for the huge network of underground safe houses and resistance groups across the country. And they may offer Ember her only chance at telling the world her story.

At fighting back.

Kristen Simmons

Jacket_Photo_Black_and_White

Kristen Simmons has a master’s degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She loves Jazzercise, her husband, and her precious greyhound, Rudy. Also chocolate. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida.

Links

Website       Twitter       Facebook       Goodreads

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My Review

As I said when I started this post, Three is one of the best endings to a series that I have ever come across. The action is unceasing, the brief moments of rest for the characters are a chance for you to catch your breath before they dive back into the fray, and the hope of a better tomorrow keeps the reader going on just as much as those within the story.

In Three we see the main character, Ember, really grow up. In the previous two books, while she did some impressive things and started to prove her worth, she was somewhat of a tagalong, following Chase nearly blindly. Here, however, Ember starts to take control, coming up with a way to spread a message to those who might join the resistance with a little prodding. She constantly fights for what she believes is right, but without sounding high and mighty or appearing arrogant. I was so impressed with the growth that she showcased in Three, turning her from a good MC, to a fabulous one, a role model.

Then there is the romance. Ember and Chase have had great chemistry throughout the series, but in Three it is taken to a different level. It’s more passionate, more intense, deeper and tender, but also fierce. Their relationship solidified for me, it felt like not only could it last, but that there was no way it wouldn’t. Normally I’m not that into relationships taking up such a large portion of a book, particularly in dystopian, but with this series, and Three in particular, it felt natural and right. I can’t imagine the series, or this book without that bond.

Romance isn’t the only type of relationship that is strengthened in Three. Familial bonds, of blood and from a closeness and sense of trust, are represented. Friendships are made, some grow, and others wither, but for the most part the group really starts to rely on each other. They don’t just need each other to watch their backs or for protection, it is a matter of emotional support and strength, and Simmons has a way of making those ties seem natural and powerful.

This review, in case you haven’t noticed, is very character based, and that’s intentional. The characters and their relationships are what makes this book for me. Sure, I really enjoyed the action and the plot was very well done, with a whirlwind ending that left me speechless. However, as incredible as the world, the story, and the action were, it was the focus on those people that I grew to really care about that sold Three, and the series, for me.

As much as I love series, and the characters within them, I don’t tend to miss those people, or actively think about how I’ll never get to join them again for another adventure. Ember, Chase, and the rest of this cast is an exception. I already wish there was a book four, a companion novel, a novella of sorts, anything to stay connected with them, the feeling of loss is already here, and I know I’ll be re-reading this series for years to come. So thank you Kristen Simmons for writing these amazing books, thank you to Tor Teen for publishing them and sharing with us these wondrous creations, and thanks as always for anyone reading this.

Five Smiling Frodos w Background

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Book Nerd Tours


Review: Beta by Rachel Cohn

Beta

Summary From Goodreads

Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.

Elysia’s purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island’s workers-soulless clones like Elysia-are immune to.

At first, Elysia’s life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne’s human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island’s flawless exterior, there is an under­current of discontent among Demesne’s worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care-so why are overpowering sensations cloud­ing Elysia’s mind?

If anyone discovers that Elysia isn’t the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happi­ness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she’s always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.

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I received an ARC of Beta courtesy of the amazing people over at ARCycling in exchange for an honest review.

I am reviewing this IMMEDIATELY after finishing it because I want my emotions to be as fresh as possible. I breezed through Beta just about as fast as I ever have any other book. I was loving just about every aspect of it and was thinking this was going to be four, perhaps even a five Frodo review no problem. Then the ending happened and I kind of lost it on Twitter.

So, ya, I was a little frustrated to say the least. There were twists and some plot threads dropped that were brand new and clearly were designed to get the reader to want to find out more in book 2 in the series (Which weren’t needed by the way, the desire was already there from the rest of the book, aaaaaah) but that wasn’t the issue I had. No, the main character, Elysia, who had stayed true to her convictions throughout the book and had been such a fantastic example of dedication to the people she cares about just throws it all away at the end. I cannot go into further detail without spoiling the book but my goodness was that disheartening. Why would you take such a great model of character and toss it aside like it was nothing?! I don’t get it. I will again say this is an ARC of Beta that I read, but I doubt that they would have made that substantial a change between the ARC and the finished version. Ugh.

Now, the rest of the book. The writing? Excellent! The pacing was smooth, the flow was wonderful with action interspersed with revelations by Elysia about the world around her. The dialogue is some of the best I’ve ever read, Cohn brought the conversations to life and it was remarkable how smooth the transitions were from one character speaking to the next. Also? Beta was HILARIOUS! It wasn’t over the top funny that you find in some books, not that I’m knocking that approach, but little jokes here and there that had me in fits. Wonderful.

Let me again say how frustrated I was with Elysia’s decisions at the end of the book because prior to that I loved everything about her character. She was funny in an awkward way that fit perfectly with her beta-clone role. The way she observed the role in a mixture of robotic analysis and descriptions slowly mixing with human revelations about both herself and the people around her was perfect. As a reader you get to learn about who Elysia is right along with her as she discovers herself, I love that approach and it did make me feel connected with her on a deeper level which I loved. Again, she stuck with her convictions throughout almost the entire book, she was devoted to the people that truly cared about her and refused to waiver even when the opportunities she had would have swayed the average person, or perhaps clone. Loved her.

The romance in Beta was great. No real triangles, no insta-love, though I won’t deny there being some instant attractions going on, which is perfectly normal considering the characters are teenagers. The romantic interest, Tahir, is a fascinating character. His emotions change like the tide, he is devoted and passionate one minute and distant the next. In some cases this would be irritating, but with Tahir it is just intriguing. You want to know what is going on in his head, and Elysia is the only one who seems to be capable of finding out just what Tahir is all about. They mesh, they are sweet, and their is romantic scenes but they trend more toward the emotional bonding rather than too much of the physical which is great to see considering their ages. I rooted for them all the way.

Oh, and the world Cohn created? Detailed, rich, complex, the list goes on. A place that seems like a paradise from first glance but in reality is just as flawed as any society is not an original concept by any means, but it was done so well that I didn’t mind. The history of the Island, Demesne, was completely believable and I could definitely see how humans could have decided this was the right course of action, especially those among the wealthy. The brand of servitude used is intended to illicit anger from the reader in varying degrees along the course of the book because of how we are still trying to achieve freedom in the world today. The idea of any human of any type, clone or not, being beneath another human is something we strive to remove completely, and Beta showcases how the powers that be, in a certain scenario, might continue to utilize that mindset to the fullest extent to serve their purposes. The imagery through Elysia’s eyes is so detailed that Demesne comes to life in an instant, every aspect easy to see in the mind’s eye, just excellent.

So did I enjoy Beta? Absolutely. Did the ending frustrate me beyond belief and tarnish my feelings toward the book? You bet. It’s like I was taught every facet of a language and at the end of my learning process I was told that half the words or letters were meaningless. The result is a question. How much do I let 1% of the book affect how much I loved the other 99%? A decent amount, but I refuse to let a decision I’m not thrilled with alter how great the book was prior to it. The ending keeps it from being a five but a four works just fine for me. I recommend the book and just say that I hope book two will resolve some of the issues that the end presented and if Elysia can recapture that conviction and great sense of who she is and what she believes I bet this series will become a favorite of mine. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #105/200

Four Smiling Frodos w Background