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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting new dystopia for the YA market
This is a thrill ride of a book, which hooks the reader quickly and fully delivers on its promise of excitement.

I'm sure some of you who are YA readers are going "I've done the dystopian thing; I'm over it now" but I would urge you to give this one a go. Yes, there are elements which you'll have read before (but I would strongly argue that any story which...
Published 18 months ago by Mrs. B. S. Kemp

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cool idea, but not fleshed out enough
ACID starts out strong--with a 17 year old bad girl who can take on fully grown, perverted men, and an epic prison break. I LOVED how Jenna kicked some serious butt and wasn't afraid to stand up for herself. Then things immediately get moving with a prison break and Jenna is whisked away by mysterious "good samaritans". The author feeds us some sneak peaks of what is to...
Published 19 months ago by Ashley Evans


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3.0 out of 5 stars So-so YA dystopia, 21 May 2014
This review is from: ACID (Paperback)
It’s the year 2113. After years of financial crises drove Britain to the point of collapse, ACID (the police force) took over, taking Britain out of the EU and closing it off from the rest of the world. 17-year-old Jenna Strong’s parents were part of the elite and she enjoyed a privileged life in London right up until she accidentally killed them. For the last two years she’s been in Mileway Maximum Security Prison but during a prison riot, she discovers that the prison doctor is part of a group willing to do anything to get her out – even if it means sacrificing themselves.

Now on the run, she wants to know what the group has planned for her. But answers are slow in coming and there’s danger on all sides, not least from the prison doctor’s son – who’s been convinced by ACID propaganda that Jenna killed his father during her escape …

Emma Pass’s YA dystopian novel is a so-so affair that takes the elements common to the genre (a kick-ass female main character, obligatory romance and brutal, totalitarian regime) but doesn’t really do anything new with them. It’s very much a book about identity and Jenna has three of them in the course of this book, which actually made it difficult for me to empathise with her. This is compounded by her actions in the final quarter of the book, which are supposed to be noble but are actually driven by selfishness and stupidity. I also found the romance unconvincing, mainly because Max is underdeveloped and he and Jenna don’t really have any conversations to justify the relationship. There are some interesting ideas in the book – I particularly liked the creepy Jacob and his group of anarchists but the plot line is over too quickly without really exploring the implications. Ultimately it’s an okay read and I kept turning the pages but while there’s potential for a sequel here, I wouldn’t rush to read it (although I would read Pass’s other work).

Given that the book is named after the police force, I wanted to discover more about how they and the totalitarian regime operated. Unfortunately, the regime is broad brushstrokes at best and the main two-dimensional and I actually kinda wished that the plot had been spread over more than one book to give the world building more room to breathe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read!, 11 May 2014
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This review is from: ACID (Kindle Edition)
I read this book within the day, I couldn't put it down. The characters in this book were interesting and the plot kept on twisting and turning, just when you think you knew what was happening!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Solid read, 20 April 2014
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Some reviews and comments I'd read led me to go into this book with expectations completely different from what it actually was. That wasn't a bad thing at all. This is a dystopia, more than it's a prison-break book. In a near-future vision of Britain that reminded me oddly of V for Vendetta - not for the plot, but for the setting, somehow - Jenna Strong has been imprisoned for two years after she confessed to killing her parents. She still has eighty-odd years of the sentence ahead of her, and being the only female prisoner in a high-security facility has hardened her to the point where she beats up a grown creeper almost as soon as we meet her. She is then sprung from prison and ends up on the run from ACID - the police/totalitarian government - under a secret identity, attempting to protect the son of the man who saved her.

There were several really good elements - in my view - to this book. The pace is break-neck much of the time, making the book more than a bit difficult to put down. The inclusion of newsfeeds, transcripts of ACID agent communications, letters, etc. could've easily cluttered up the book and maybe for some they will. For me, the newsfeeds helped flesh out the world and all the little snippets helped up the tension by foreshadowing and introducing threats that would've seemed much more abrupt if we'd been presented solely with the narrow first-person point of view. These little interruptions in the narrative, I feel, helped strengthen it overall and add to the looming, menacing feeling of ACID's presence, turning it into almost a character in itself.

The pacing is fast, but could perhaps have been managed better. While I do like it when books give you a chance to figure things out before the characters (and feel clever when you find out you were right), it should be timed so the reader's realisation comes right before the characters. Otherwise you end up rolling your eyes and wishing they'd just stop being stupid and get it already. Perhaps it's a bit heavy-handed on the hints, and of course, I can't say how much of this was or wasn't intended, but I feel that for all its fast pace, some parts could've been shortened or cut out entirely, while others could've very well been dwelt on longer and fleshed out more.

Jenna herself is tough but likeable, strong, paranoid and cheeky, all things that make sense given her background. While I liked her character a lot, her abilities became a bit inconsistent to me. I'd been introduced to a heroine who could kick arse while on the verge of collapse from poisoning, but then she starts losing fights far too easily. And, of course, the amnesia sequence is completely at odds with the character I'd known up until that point, but then I suppose that was the point. As much as the inconsistencies bothered me, though, they were nowhere near enough to make me dislike the book or the character, or pull down the rating much.

Pretty much every character who is not Jenny could've been fleshed out more. Max especially. While I liked him and had some sense of who he was, I never really felt like I knew him, and some of his later motivations are rushed just a bit too much. This lack of characterisation, ultimately, is one of the main reasons I only gave the book four stars, but then I very rarely give any book the full five.

Some of the settings are so crisp and clear I could sink into them, but I felt Outer London could've been eerier. Perhaps it's because Jenna is strong and mostly fearless, but I think the time we spend in the slums lacks a sense of urgency and menace to match the spoken descriptions we get of the place later on. The library sequence, on the other hand, was brilliant. Perhaps it's because I love libraries, but that setting was amazing and completely clear in my mind's eye, as was the sense of the web slowly closing in.

The romance was quite well done. It wasn't insta-love, and the way most of the real, deep realisations seemed to come after the separation made the sense of regret believable and understandable, and added to the urgency both I and Jenna felt for the reunion. However, Jenna's initial vow to never fall in love again could've been done better. I feel it should've either been emphasised more and have led to a larger internal struggle, or it should've been omitted completely. As it is, it feels like an unnecessary afterthought.

The coincidence of the communication 'Jess' accidentally reads was, I felt, the only real instance of 'too much coincidence'. It bugged me a bit, but wasn't anywhere near as bad as a full deus ex machina.

All in all, it was a solid, if flawed, read, and I liked it a lot. It kept me reading to the end, and kept me wanting to go back to it whenever I had put it down. I liked Jenna, I felt for her and wanted her to succeed, and I hope this vision of the future never does come true. Would definitely recommend it to others, although I would be a bit wary of giving it to younger teens; it's more than a bit brutal in places.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Dystopian Read, 1 April 2014
This review is from: ACID (Paperback)
I had been looking to get this book for ages and finally treated myself to it a few weeks back.

The first thing that struck me about the book was the feisty looking redhead on the cover, as a fellow red I salute you Emma in making the heroine one of us!

Set in a Dystopian future the story gets going really quickly. Britain is ruled over by ACID (Agency for Crime Investigation and Defence) and they rule with the iron fist of General Harvey, they choose your partner, your career and you have no choice but to live by their rules.

The story is told from the point of view of Jenna Strong, imprisoned at 15 by for the murder of her parents.

Held in a high security prison, and the only female prisoner, Jenna is tormented by the male inmates but after being drugged she is rescued with help from the prison doctor who gives his life to save her.

She is taken in by an undercover group who give her a new name, a new face and a new identity in order for her to return to the outside.

To play the role she is partnered with Cade, who unfortunately for Jenna is not committed to making their partnership work and leaves her. Jenna searches for him but on returning home she is attacked by hooded man who she discovers is Max Fisher, the son of the prison doctor who helped free her and who has been on the news after going missing, he is addicted to a drug called Cloud 9, and despite him attacking her she looks after him, helping him recover from the effects of the drug but she does not reveal her true identity to him.

After Jenna's suspicious neighbour reports her after seeing her with Max, they have to go on the run, escaping London they go to Manchester but on the way end up in the company of group of people who at first are welcoming but Jenna discovers they are a terrorist cell with horrific plans to bomb a rally in Manchester, leaving them is not an option as the leader of the group, Jacob, discovers Jenna's real identity.

On arrival at the rally they manage to escape the group and raise the alarm to ACID regarding the bombs but Jacob captures them and reveals to Max the true identity of Jenna and her involvement his fathers death. Leaving them tied up in a church they are found, after being tipped of by Jacob, by ACID.

But what happens next, well I won't reveal too much but after finding out about Jenna's true identity Max is understandably furious and Jenna is unable to talk to him as she is being held by ACID, interrogated and given an ultimatum, her memory altered along with new life or death. What will she choose?

Well I won't tell you what happens next but the book pans out very well, the ending is fast paced and very satisfying, I also think it leaves us nicely lined up for book 2! (I hope there is a book 2!)

I really enjoyed this book, I especially liked the newspaper reports scattered throughout it was a nice touch along with the letters, but I wont tell you who they were from. The characters are well written and I really felt for Jenna's brain as she is having to cope with having her identity changed more than once! Max is a great character and unlike most macho men in these stories he lets Jenna look after him.

I really love a dystopian novel and this ticked all my boxes, but I need to catch up on my sleep it kept me up late.

I have Emma's next book on pre-order The Fearless with that book site we all know and love, I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 19 Mar 2014
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This review is from: ACID (Kindle Edition)
Excellent storyline, I love the characters! An all round good read.
Jenna strong is certainly up there in my list of fictional heroines.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read - fantastic new author !!, 7 Mar 2014
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This review is from: ACID (Kindle Edition)
Couldn't put the damn book down, had to cancel an appointment so that i could finish it.
Really looking forward to more from this great new author !!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Dystopian thriller, 6 Mar 2014
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This review is from: ACID (Paperback)
ACID’s tagline ‘They stole her life, now she wants it back’ is very fitting…a dystopian tale of brutal government forces and an identity crisis!
Told in first person, you only ever know as much as Jenna does which adds to the element of mystery. I loved the beginning, Jenna Strong is captivating, feisty and tough, and I really warmed to her and her predicament eagerly page turning to discover more. It’s a fascinating look at a future world, though I did wonder how the rest of the world had been happy to sit by and let Britain turn into the IRB… I loved the intermittent articles and emails posted throughout the book, great touch. I really enjoyed the tech created by the author.
I could see Jenna immediately through the wonderful cover art, but with so many identity changes I found myself wondering just what she really looked like by the end of the book!
The love interest seemed incidental, and I didn’t warm to Max as a potential partner. I would also have preferred her to have stayed on the wrong side of the law throughout the book rather than include the Jess identity.
This is a piece of escapism, intriguing and well-written, a couple of convenient plot lines and a few unexpected twists and turns. An enjoyable novel from a great author and I look forward to her next novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, 20 Feb 2014
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I think this is a very good fictional book, with interesting twists in the story as it goes on. A good book for young adults
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever, 25 Jan 2014
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This review is from: ACID (Kindle Edition)
so good best book ever would read it a million times more if I had to like I said best book ever!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A action-fuelled thriller :) well done to Emma Pass., 7 Jan 2014
This review is from: ACID (Kindle Edition)
From the moment I picked it up, until the moment I put it down, I was captivated by the suspenseful, innovative, and rich story line, and quickly fell in love with the down to earth, bigger then life characters, I think Jenna Strong (the protagonist) lived up to her name, the books plot adapts itsef to the situation of the characters; going from an action-fuelled thriller, to a "tugging-at-heartstrings" romance. I was always also very fond and impressed by the daring, yet thought provoking plot, as I believe that the vision of a "utopian" society of golden shackles, where you give up your freedom for a comfortable life, hits the mark hard. I rate this book 11/10 and would recommend this mainly for people of my age group (14 -16) but would be a welcome addition to anyone's collection. Would very much like to see a sequel or perhaps a prequel, explaining ACID's rise to power in larger depth? A very big congrats to Emma Pass for her wonderful writing skill! :)
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ACID
ACID by Emma Pass (Paperback - 25 April 2013)
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