Monday, July 14, 2014

A Dose of Dystopia

I guess I've been on a bit of a dystopia kick lately, given that is one of my favorite genres, probably. The first, Legend, I've been wanting to read for a while, and the second, The Testing, was recommended to me by a friend. Both very different visions, yet probably just as scary and probable. I think that's why I love dystopia so much. I like seeing the different ways people envision the way our world is going, even if it's in a horrible disaster.

Legend by Marie Lu follows the story of two different 15 year-olds, set in the distant future of the United States. The US is now known as The Republic, and at the age of 10 (I think? If I remember correctly), everyone has to take a test, which basically determines where you fall within society. Day failed the test. June is the only one to get a perfect score. Day is a known criminal, stealing from the wealthy and giving to the poor, while June is known as a prodigy. Their worlds collide when Day is the only suspect in the murder of June's brother. However, through the chase, June quickly learns that he world isn't as perfect as she originally thought. Which makes her question everything she's ever known.

At first, I had a difficult time getting into this book, because the author jumps right in with all of the new language and new vocabulary for this future world, and it took me a bit to get into it, to learn what everything meant. However, once I got it down, the book was very fast paced. Things just kept happening, making me want to keep reading, to find out what happens to Day and June. While there were a few plot points that I found predictable, for the most part, I rather enjoyed the book. It was a quick and easy read, definitely one that is fitting for the summer. And I'm left wanting to read the next book, which will just get added to my ever growing list of books to read.

Another thing I liked about the book was how well the characters were developed. I thought Day and June were good mirrors of each other, one coming from privilege and one coming from wealth. It also reminded me somewhat of an Aladdin story, with Day having to steal to survive, colliding with a girl who's never known that kind of life. The book was also written in two different colors of ink, gold for Day and black for June. I found that gave the book a unique edge, and really helped me to keep the two characters straight.

The Testing by Joelle Charboneau follows the story of 16-year-old Marcia (Cia) Vale, who is just about to graduate, and have her fate decided for her. As the entire Five Lakes Colony celebrates, all Cia can think about is getting chosen for the testing, the highest honor that can be endowed. When Cia gets chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmares from The Testing, warning her of the dangers in come. With this in mind, heading off to Tosu City, away from her friends and family forever, and forced to face the danger of The Testing on her own.

Like I said, this book was recommended to me by a friend, so I picked it up from the library. I hadn't really heard anything about it until she read it, and then I saw the third book in Barnes and Noble, a place that I frequent (surprised that it's a trilogy? I can't say that I was). I wasn't disappointed. This reminds me of a combination of Divergent and The Hunger Games, with the test that everyone has to take, and the survival aspects that are in The Testing. There's never really a dull moment in the book, either. It's fast paced and suspenseful, leaving me to not really want to put it down. I also thought that Cia was a very well-developed character, and very likeable. While not everyone would do what she did in her situation, I think she was well-rounded, and this made me want to keep reading. I wanted to know what happened to her. I can't wait to pick up the next book.

Next, I will be reading Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You by Peter Cameron. Until next time, happy reading! :)

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