NB: I received an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review. This review is a replica of the one posted on my blog, and my review on there is unrated, due to being unsure. However, Amazon doesn't let you post a review without a rating, so I'm still unsure if what I've rated it is my final opinion.
**WARNING: Contains some spoilers**
PODs was an unusual read for me, to the point I'm left floundering and completely at a loss for how to rate it. After finishing reading the book this morning, I'm actually still not 100% sure as to my thoughts about it, and I'm having trouble putting it into words how it made me feel.
Did I enjoy the book? Well, I really just ... don't know.
I mean, it had some issues that made this a less than fluid read for me, and I'm not sure if those are the factors driving this uncertainty, or if it's something else.
As you can see by my nonsensical waffle, I truly am at a loss.
So, maybe I can make some sense if I simply write what I did or didn't like about the book.
To begin, I kinda thought YES! The writing seemed smooth, and quite fast-paced, and the conflict had been identified so I knew where the story was going and who and what to root for.
But then, that opening pace seemed to vanish into the stratosphere, leaving the rest of the book to drag along the ground like animal-savaged victim--who's lost both his legs.
To begin with, I kinda liked Eva. I felt for her, and dreaded what I knew she headed toward, and what we know she's leaving behind. Yet, for reasons I simply cannot fathom, I just didn't connect with her. and I should have, because she had a whole lot of shizazz going on that I should have been empathising with her over--yet, I found myself very much detached from and indifferent to it all.
The bits leading up to the PODs was that fast paced section I mentioned, and then it's once they're in the PODs that the pace goes askew. I have a feeling the author relied too heavily on the relationship she created between Eva and David to hold the reader's interest, but it didn't, and I think my status updates will probably explain why better than I can:
1) Other than his `silver eyes', I have NO idea what David looks like.
2) However, I DO know he smells great because she tells us a LOT.
3) One minute, Eva and David are showing us a glimpse of their relationship beginning to grow, THEN we make a giant leap & are smacked with a big `TELL' that she realised she really likes him and we don't get to SEE any of this growth.
IS it just me who finds David a bit creepy?
Kissing. Lots of kissing. More kissing than anything else, in fact. But at least the doors are opening. Something fresh is afoot. Yay!
On top of these, there was a seriously unrealistic birthing scene about a third of the way through the book. The birthing mother was a teenager. There were no adults present. No adults responded to their requests for help. No medical supplies. All they had for guidance as to how childbirth goes was a book. The poor young girl in labour had NOOOO pain relief--and yet she barely made a peep. The entire ordeal seemed to be over within an hour, despite this being her first child delivered by kids who had no idea what they were doing during a delivery, and there ZERO complications ... okay, I guess you're getting the picture. But on top of this, the poor young girl who'd just given birth also cleaned herself up AND the baby up whilst Eva was in the bathroom (which is where they ALL go to clean themselves up, so I'm unsure how this was achieved--in the kitchen sink maybe?)--now, I dunno how the experience of other women has gone for them, but dude, I could barely get my own hide off that bed after giving birth, let alone moving around on my wobbly legs. So, this scene bugged me a fair bit, as I would have preferred if more credibility had been exercised.
Anyhoo, moving on. After a pretty long and slow section of them spending over a year inside the POD, they finally get out (as my 42% update status says), and I'm excited because I imagine this is where stuff gets interesting. I mean, they've hidden inside the PODs for this long, after leaving all of their loved ones and the rest of the country topside to deal with a virus that they all expected would kill them off, and now they're finally clambering out of their hole .... as a reader, you'd be expecting mutated family members to be wondering around, and them fighting for their lives whilst fighting with the realisation that the virus wasn't quite as cut and dried as they imagined ... right?
Well, okay, this does kind of happen--but it seems to take ages AFTER they've left the POD for it to get to this point. I mean, sure there's the whole being separated by David issue Eva ends up having to deal with. But, in all honesty, that got a little bit boring, and when some dude called Craig shows an interest, I find myself egging her to just go off with him in the hopes of something new and fresh happening at last.
It's not actually until David shows up on the outside of the compound Eva's been assigned to (though this moves slow, too), which encourages Eva to break out (which looks like something exciting is about to happen), that we finally see a bit of action and what I imagined the book might be about (finally). However, even then, I found myself just plodding along, rather than screaming my way through the pages on the edge of my seat and biting my nails and being shocked and horrified and praying they'll all be all right. And though it took some deep thinking, I think I finally figured out what the issue in even this area was. It was the writing. Not that the writing was bad, because it wasn't--the sentences were smooth and well-constructed enough. But those sentences alone weren't enough to bring excitement to the words. There was an underlying blandness to everything. The verbs lacked tension, and speed, and thrill, and oomph. There was so much difference that could have been made if only far more active and invigorating verbs had been chosen over the constant generic ones used through the novel that gave the reader no indication as to HOW the characters did stuff, so we only knew that they ... just did. Am I even making sense?
Added to these was the kissing. Yes, it warrants another mention, because it didn't cease even once they'd left the POD. And a LOT of those kisses came at inappropriate moments, and every kiss was written the same, and far too often Eva was shivering or trembling from these kisses or the slightest of touches from David, even when comrades of hers were being attacked or in distress right beside her, so they didn't always fit with the story/moment. So, they kind of bugged me to and only helped to make her less likeable because it made her seem out of touch with the troubles of others, or emotionless over the plights of the team, and I think this may also have contributed to my inability to connect with her.
Okay, I'll quit going on now.
I think what I'm trying to say is that I liked the story, and the concept was great, but a lot of it could have been quashed and condensed, to make way for more of it to have been shown, and to let me deeper into Eva's story and allowed the ability to travel her journey alongside her rather than merely read it as words on a page--and maybe then it would have held the excitement I felt I missed in there. BUT these are just the thoughts of one person. We all like different styles. We all like different levels of involvement. So make up your own mind, because this book might be the right one for you.