Saturday, January 26, 2013
The book is kind of marketed to those who like the Hunger Games, and I can see it. It is a dystopian novel, and in this future, at least from what I can tell, something has happened that has forced the people to live within a barrier of some sort, and outside the barrier they are fighting. Not sure if it is other people/countries or monsters, etc. We're not given a lot of info about that. I do see that this is listed on Goodreads.com as the first in a series, and even though to me it ended at a good part to not have to go on, it would also be good since there are several things, such as what they're fighting against, that can be answered if we go on.
Our main character is West Grayer, and like all other kids, she is growing up with her schooling being her training for the day she will get her assignment. You see, this society wants the strongest fighters they can get for whatever this war is they're fighting. So, when parents decide they want to have a kid, they must go to a center to sign up, and then with another couple, they end up with twins, or alts. Each family raises their own kid in their own way, and has no contact with their alt. Until the day they get the assignment. This can happen any time between the ages of 11 and 20 I think from what I read. Once they receive their assignment, they have 1 month to kill, or be killed by their alt, and if both are still alive after that end date, they will die because of something implanted inside of them. Survival of the fittest, whoever is left will make the society a good fighter, or at least a more deserving citizen to be given a job and food, etc. West lost her mother to a completion, she was in the way when someone killed their alt. Her older brother and younger sister both lost to their alts, the horrible thing that her younger sister was only 11 at the time. And as we begin the book, she has also lost her father, to suicide, and it is just her brother Luc and their friend Chord left for a family for her. Chord has just gotten his assignment, so they are trying to help him figure out how to beat his alt. They can't help him, an assisted kill or AK is not really allowed. Another thing not allowed is revenge killing, you cannot go after the alt just because they killed your brother or sister in completing their assignment. There are however, something called Strikers. These are hired by wealthier people, to kill their own alts before they are killed and so they don't have to kill them or get themselves into danger. When a tragic event takes place at Chord's completion of his assignment, one that West feels guilty of, she decides to become a Striker. She figures it will prepare her for when she gets her own assignment. Strikers aren't really "legal". They just are. This does help her get practice, and money, until she gets her own assignment. Now she has a month, and instead of being ready to go and end it right away, West kind of puts it off.
I think the story was very good. It had a lot of action, and suspense, and you really wanted to know what would happen next. I can definitely see the fans of the Hunger Games enjoying this. It was a little difficult for me though. If you've read other reviews I have done on either dystopian or post-apocalyptic type books, you know that I kind of want to know WHY things are the way they are. In this book, I don't really understand creating 2 of every person at birth. How would that help the government save money? Doesn't make sense to me. And all the killing that can go on just out in the middle of the public. I just don't see how a society could ever be okay with that. And how in the world you could ever control the killing. If people decide to do a revenge killing, why wouldn't they also just go kill the people in charge as a rebellion? I don't know, that's the issue I had with the book. I'll probably have to read on, eventually, probably in 2 years, to see if that is ever explained in a way that makes better sense to me.
But all in all, a good read if you can overlook that issue. Once I let go of that thought, then I was able to get pulled into the story. And I wanted to know if West would ever get the guts up to kill her alt, to confront her, or if she'd fall behind or figure another way out.