It sounded good when I read the blurb: a sci-fi set in the future and space, with perhaps a romantic twist and a murder mystery to boot. It had all the ingredients to make a good YA story. Unfortunately the author didn't quite cook them right and the outcome wasn't as tasty as I thought it would be. To be honest, it wasn't one of my favourite sci-fi novels and it took me quite a while to read it. There were some good bits and bad bits and so it was completely average. I didn't think there was anything to make it stand out as the "next big thing".
What I liked about the book:
The romantic element was good because it didn't actually become a whirlwind romance nor was it a "love at first sight" kind of thing. There was definitely a spark between the two characters and their relationship grew, but there was no declarations of love which would have made the whole thing completely unrealistic. Elder the main character is definitely not perfect and a revelation about him at the end was one that I definitely did not see coming. It's nice to see a YA novel in which the main male character isn't 100% perfect. He has his flaws. He's still learning and growing up and so he's prone to make mistakes. This makes him seem much more realistic and in my opinion, because he's not a cliched "broody, mysterious, I'm a bad boy - oh no I'm actually not, I'm perfect" character, he is much more likable and it's easier to see yourself in his shoes.
I also liked how each chapter would switch points of view, first Amy and then Elder. I preferred Elder's parts as the story developed but to begin with they were a little bit slow and boring. Amy's parts to start with were interesting and then slowed down a bit while she was frozen.
HARLEY! He was the only character I really really liked and cared about. I'm not going to tell you what his involvement was because it's hard to without giving anything away, but his character was cool and quite loveable.
Things I didn't like about it:
THE PLOT TWIST! It's a good storyline but the author wasn't very subtle about her presentation of it. I solved the murder mystery when the first one happened! It was so obvious and the author was practically screaming the clues out at us. I saw the link between the victims straight away but then I had to wait for practically the whole book before the characters realised the link - only about 60 chapters too late! The murder mystery plot was too predictable and this seriously let the book down for me because there was no challenge in it what so ever.
It had a SLOW start. I would say the first 20% of the book was the worst. Also, the book had so many chapters and some of them were a little boring - they were almost like "fillers" that weren't really vital to the plot. Because of this it I didn't find it to be a complete page - turner and had to read it in stops and starts.
Overall, I would say this book is ok but not brilliant. The sequel A Million Suns comes out in a year but I'm not waiting in eager anticipation. I haven't decided if I will read it yet, I'm not really bothered what happens to them next time. Read it, enjoyed bits of it and probably wouldn't read it again. I recommend it to those of you who liked Stephanie Meyer's The Host or something along those lines.