What initially drew me to this particular book was the beautiful cover of a pale, redheaded girl in a gorgeous light blue dress with layer upon layer of ruffles, standing in front of a mirror. It’s a gorgeous dress, and I could easily picture some young, beautiful starlet wearing this dress to the Oscars. Overall, it’s just a very eye-catching cover.
After reading about an incident involving the author, her agent, and some reviewers, I was a little hesitant to read this story. Nonetheless, being a fan of The Bachelor and dystopian novels, the premise of the book intrigued me. Therefore, I wanted to see just how the author would be able to take this premise and make it work in a story, without it coming across as a cheesy satire or reminiscent of the The Bachelor spoof, Burning Love. If you haven’t seen that show and are a fan of The Bachelor, it is hilarious. Spot on, too, although the humor can be crude and raunchy, at times.
The short of it: this book had so much promise, as well as a hoopla of pre-advanced marketing and hype, not to mention the possibility of a TV show spin-off on the CW, but the execution was off the mark. This book is what one might characterize as being a light, fast read. Without question, I could see older middle school, junior high, and possibly high school girls, enjoying this book. To me, it was more on a juvenile fiction level, rather than young adult, and although slight at times, there is an actual difference between the two. For one, this story is not real deep and it’s not real dark, either. This book is more sugary-sweet, on a Disney type, fantasy level. The dystopian aspect is also rather meager and more told than shown, comparatively speaking, with other popular dystopian stories out right now.
There is a love triangle, and overall, as a romance reader, I tend to like triangles. Currently, I am Team Maxon, one of the more well-rounded characters in the story, and I don’t foresee that changing. This is one area though, that I feel that the author could improve on in the next book. For example, the two males had only one small scene together and it was inconsequential, at best. Aspen, the other hero, came off as rather two-dimensional. Additionally, America’s sudden turnaround near the end of the book felt forced and contrived, and was actually a little bit of a turnoff for me, in regards to her character.
There is a random decision made near the end that seems abrupt, and was a definite game changer in the storyline. The ending is slightly anticlimactic, as well, but I do want to see where Cass goes with the story in the next one. I’m interested in finding out more about the Rebels and what their true intention is, both sides. In my mind’s eye, I kept picturing the North and the South rebels, in terms of the Civil War’s North and South. Whether intentional or not, an interesting historical parallel can be drawn. And then there was the backstory of China invading us because we couldn’t pay them what we owed them…I really shouldn’t have laughed at that one. There’s a plot for the next Red Dawn remake, or a great political scare tactic in our current economical climate. Take your pic.
I do plan on reading the next one in the series, but if the characters aren’t given some more depth and the writing style hasn’t improved some, I might skip out on a third one.
Reviewed by Susannah;)