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3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 13 July 2013
Icons is a quick, enjoyable read that kept me very entertained but didn't blow me away.

Alien invasion novels are the new big thing in YA literature and Icons has stepped up to join the others that have already been released this year. In Icons we do not get to meet the aliens that have taken over and I felt like the otherworldly aspect was really played down which will work for some readers but not for others. I didn't really mind but I felt like the end of the world could have come from anything and I would have liked to have seen a little more input from the little green men.

Icon is a good dystopian but it stays within the popular parameters of the Genre. There is a corrupt government, a rebellion, a love triangle and teenagers that are the answers to the end of the world. In short it did nothing that we haven't seen before.

The storyline itself is good and does throw up a few small surprises. It was interesting and well put together and I was entertained all the way through it. The writing was also good and Stohl's world building was strong and creative.

The characters were decent enough but I didn't really fall in love with any of them. Dol was a bit boring and sappy. Ro and Lucus were a little too similar in personality to Gale and Peta from The Hunger Games. The most interesting one was Tima, she had some depth to her.

The love triangle didn't really work for me either. I couldn't really understand how Dol went from loving one guy to practically forgetting him and then going off with the other one so easily. The one she leaves feels betrayed and I honest cannot blame him.

Icons is a good dystopian YA, it didn't blow my mind but I enjoyed it and will read the next one in the series.
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Icons fell into the same category for me as Beautiful Creatures.

"Difficult to pick up but hard to put down"

While a compelling read, it was a slog to get through. I hate to say that because overall it had many strengths but the undeniable fact is that more than once I felt like I was pushing the backside of a woolly mammoth through a tar pit and going *nowhere*. There have been plenty of books about vampires, angels, and androids in YA fiction over the years and 2013 is the year of the Aliens.

Icons is the story of Dol, a young girl living in the Californian countryside, away from the watchful eye of the Sympa troops who enforce the rule of the Lords, aliens who arrived on "The Day", when Icons were dropped onto thirteen major cities around the world, killing millions and enslaving the rest, emitting an immense power charge that ensures no human can get close enough to destroy it and take back control of their planet. No human except Dol and her friends...

The most interesting aspect of Icons for me was the four Icon children themselves, Dol, Ro, Tima and Lucas who are all brought together seemingly by coincidence until they discover there is something insidious lurking underneath their connection. Each of the Icon children have a special power, Dol can sense emotion and connect with a person's memories, Ro has uncontrollable rage which at times is difficult to consider a power but it does come in useful when it needs to be incited in others to get things done. Lucas is the Tom Cruise of the group with bucket loads of charisma and can charm others into doing what he wants. Tima is capable of turning a person's fears against them and weeding out their weak spot.

Frustratingly we don't get much background into their origins, we know they are "special" but it isn't made clear how or why they came to be. At times Icons felt like one long intro to the series and not a self-contained book. There were hints to the history of the Lords and the Icon's power through documents and reports printed throughout the book but more often than not these led to more confusion and I found myself wishing for one big info-dump.

Stohl is trying to do something fresh and original with this series and I applaud her effort but I do think that the pacing issues let the book down big time. The fact that we are dropped straight into the story and then the pace dropped off so significantly meant the lack of info was all the more noticeable and irritating. The final third was when the action really picked up and it proved to be the books saving grace but by then I was more than happy to just be close to the finish line which was disappointing.

There is the inevitable love triangle but happily it doesn't overpower the story. I felt Dol had chemistry with both Lucas and Ro and there were sweet moments and an interesting set-up for book two that I hope Stohl will elaborate on more.
There's a fresh use of AI in this book which at times felt a little too convenient and easy to use to wrap things up but there was a fun twist that I didn't see coming that I enjoyed.

From my review it seems like there were a lot more negatives to this book than positives but overall I thought the concept was unique and that the storyline does have legs. There were simply too many coincidental moments and I would prefer the back-story to be a bit more solid. The action when it occurred in the final third was exciting and ensured I will be looking out for the next instalment.
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on 11 May 2013
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction/Blue Door, Voyager and Netgalley.)
16 years ago, 13 strange metallic `Icon's' dropped from the sky, and situated themselves in the largely populated areas of the world, killing millions of people, and turning others into slaves.

17-year-old's Dol and Ro live in the wilds outside of one of these epicentres, away from the Embassy and the `Sympas' (sympathisers who have become traitors to humanity). Dol and Ro are special though, on Dol's wrist is a small blue dot, and on Ro's wrist are two red dots, which can be connected.

When Dol's adopted family are killed and she is kidnapped, Ro follows her and tries to rescue her, only to find themselves both captured. What they are about to realise though is that they are not the only ones with these special dots.
What do the dots mean? How many people have them? How are they linked to the Icons? And can Dol and Ro really change things for the better?

This was an okay story, but I have so many questions at the end of it that it might just drive me crazy!

Dol and Ro were both okay characters, although Ro had serious anger management issues. I think that this was to do the whole `icon child'(dots) thing, but even so, his temper was pretty fierce. I didn't really feel anything for Dol at all, she was a bit boring if anything.
The other two Icon children that we met were Lucas and Tima. I liked Lucas at first, then I didn't like him, and I didn't really like Tima at all. The group dynamics were just difficult, and someone always seemed to be irritating someone else, and Ro's temper and Tima's jealousy and bitterness did not help matters.

The four `Icon children' had these dots on their wrists, but I didn't really understand the point of them - they did this weird thing they called `bonding' where they held their wrists together, dot-to-dot, and this was a really intimate thing to do -almost like sex!! I'm not sure why they did this, other than it being something to do with emotions - Dol did it to calm Ro, or how they figured out that they could do this. I didn't really understand why there were `Icon children' at all, and why were there only 4 icon children when there were 13 icons? Baffling.

We also got the obligatory love triangle/square. Dol mentions about loving Ro, but isn't sure if they can go from being best friends to being something more, never mind that they do this bonding thing with their dots. But then she's off with Lucas, and he is trying to get her to bind dots with him (Gosh that sounds ridiculous!). Then we have Tima who is obviously in love with Lucas, and so not happy that him and Dol want to bump dots, and Ro who obviously loves Dol, and wants her to only want his dots (sorry, the dots thing amuses me, I wonder if Lucas' dots are better than Ro's as Lucas has 3 and Ro only has 2?).

I have to say that my biggest complaint with this book was the world building. I didn't understand why the Icon's had arrived or who really caused their arrival, I didn't really understand why some people died and some didn't, I didn't get why Dol and Ro were living out in the middle of nowhere and how this was even possible. I didn't really understand who was in charge, and why, who the `Lords' were (think they might have been the aliens)...this list goes on, and on. I'm confused to say the least.

Thankfully the book did have an end. The four Icon children did achieve something after all this, although it was very much the start of the revolution rather than the end. I suspect though that all four icon children will not survive this entire series, I just hope that we don't take on one icon per book, because that would be a very lengthy series, and I really just want some answers!

Overall; a confusing and sometimes bizarre dystopian novel, which raises more questions than it answers.
6.5 out of 10.
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on 26 September 2013
Icons took me much longer to read than I expected it too - not because it was a bad book, but because it was quite full on and a heavy read. The amount of detail and information in Icons is pretty overwhelming, but also fascinating and interesting at the same time. Right from the beginning of this book you are dropped into this post-apocalyptic world where Aliens - known as Icons - have taken over the earth and are ruling. The world itself is amazing and very descriptive, however I did find myself lost and very confused at quite a few times intervals throughout the book. It seemed as if Margaret Stohl had just wanted to cram as much information and details into the first book, when really I thought it would have been a bit better if she'd toned it down a little. However, this did not detract from the fact that this book was a wonderful read.

Dol is our main protagonist and lost her parents on The Day when she was just a baby. I loved Dol's character, she was fantastic - but she was also; strong, loyal and well grounded - everything I love in a protagonist. I'm always on the lookout for awesome characters that I'd love to be friends with, and Dol definitely fits into that category. Dol definitely knew how to stand up for herself and say what she means, which I found really admirable. I can't wait to see if she progresses into an even better character in the next book.

Ro is Dol's best friend, they grew up together and have a special bond that is incredibly hard to describe. Their friendship was amazing to read about, and I loved reading the scenes where it was just the two of them together. Their friendship was so raw and deep and they have a wonderful connection. Lucas is the Ambassador's son; Dol's enemy is so many ways but also her ally - but Dol and Lucas also share a connection and attraction. I found it a little annoying how quickly Dol and Lucas fell for each other - a sense a bit of insta love - but their friendship was lovely. And lastly it's Tima - the fourth and final one of our characters - and probably the most bad-ass in my opinion. I loved Tima's character, she had a rough exterior, but inside she was very caring and a really awesome character.

Usually I'm not one for love triangles - at all - so when I realised that Icons would contain one, I was a little wary. However on this particular occasion, it did not make me cringe or become frustrated, and I was truly and honestly curious about who Dol would choose to be with. What I loved about Dol's relationship with both Ro and Lucas was that they were entirely real, and she had genuine feelings for both of them. There are obvious and different reasons why she was attracted to each of them and I felt like I could actually feel the conflict raging inside her. To be perfectly honest though, I didn't have a preference about who Dol ended up with. To me, it seemed more important that they should all keep together as friends - and think about love after that - but oh well.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Icons - it may have taken about 30 pages or so to get into, but I thought it was a fantastic book. The plotline for the novel is incredibly unique and I've not read anything like it before. Margaret Stohl's writing is lovely and such a pleasure to read - her writing style goes above and beyond what I expected. As I've not read anything by Margaret Stohl yet, I was a little apprehensive at first about starting Icons. So many people rave about the Beautiful Creatures series that she co-wrote with Kami Garcia, that I was worried that her writing style would be way overhyped - but it definitely wasn't! I believe Icons well and truly earned the 4/5 star rating I gave it, and I probably would have given it more if it weren't for the things I've mentioned and the fact it took me so long to get through. I can't wait to find out what happens in the sequel to this book, I'm sure it'll be just as good and go on to be a fantastic series!
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on 17 July 2013
I had first expected it to be a run-of-the-mill dystopian society, but it was written by Margaret Stohl, whose writing I love, so I was always going to read it regardless. But what I actually got, what this book delivered, was so far from what I expected, and a far cry from run-of-the-mill.

Icons is filled to the brim with exhilarating action, captivating, descriptive writing, and unique characters. From the prologue I was hooked and unable to stop reading. Set in a future world in which aliens known as the No Face have seized control of the Earth, and where a constant threat of instant death looms over the remnants of humanity, Icons tells the story of Dol, Ro, Lucas, and Tima, teens who are different, who possess heightened emotions and the ability to sense the feelings of those around them. Known as Icon Children, the four know that they are different and that they must keep their abilities secret to survive. But what they do not know is that they are human weapons created to destroy the Icons, and to bring down the No Face.

The characters of this book are strong, each different in their own ways, and incredibly fascinating people. Dol, a Weeper, feels all of the sadness in the world around her, and though she is constantly overwhelmed by the misery and despair surrounding her she does not, even once, give up. She is a brave and incredibly strong protagonist, and not once does she become whiny or irritating as most characters often do. Dol is one of the best Young Adult female protagonists to grace the pages of a book.

Ro, a Rager, can use fury to produce incredible physical strength, making him capable of just about anything. But despite his physical strength, and despite his powerful anger, Ro has an underlying vulnerability, and his affection and loyalty to Dol shows him as gentle and protective to a fault.

Lucas, while being sketchy at times, and while Dol is unsure whether she is able to trust him, is my favourite character of this book. Despite being the son of Ambassador Amare, a woman with great influence in a world where humans have none, Lucas is not privileged, superior, and condescending as I had expected him to be. He is insecure, broken, and scared more than anything of losing his mother. Though his actions come across as him working against Dol and Ro, beneath everything that he does is a desperate need for his mother's approval - and his mother's love. Lucas broke my heart, and scared me half to death!, and I can't wait to see where the rest of the Icons series takes him.

Tima, the fourth Icon child, is introduced as unfriendly, hostile, and head-over-heels for Lucas. While the latter doesn't change, Tima over the course of the book softens towards Dol and Ro, and she shows herself to be caring, brave, and very loyal. I found myself, against all odds, actually liking her.

The emotions created within this book, within the characters and their words, their actions, and their surrounding world makes this book a turbulent read with vivid and all-encompassing emotion. With breath-taking writing, Stohl creates an Earth that is far-fetched but eerily real and completely believable. Icons is instantly one of my favourite books, and I impatiently await the sequel.
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on 16 June 2013
I found Icons to be an interesting and absorbing read; I couldn't put the book down for me than a second until I had finished. It is more complex than some YA novels, mainly in the way the story is told and questions are answered.

Not everything is explained in the beginning and instead the world is steadily built and the background explained throughout the story. I liked this aspect of the book as it meant we didn't have a huge info dump at the start which made the book more absorbing from the very first page.

Icons is a mixture of dystopian and sci-fi with a slight fantasy feel at times. Combined with some romance and the mysterious elements, it makes it a book that truly has something for everyone to enjoy. The concept behind Icons is very original and the world Margaret Stohl has written is expertly well created.

Dol, Lucas, Ro and Tima are all very unique characters with strong personalities making them very interesting to read about. There are the starting roots of possible romances which never fully blossomed but don't let that put you off as I feel this book was more of an introduction to the characters and what they are capable of and we will probably see more romance later in the series.

Icons is a strong start to what promises to be a fantastic series; I am looking forwards to seeing what the next book will bring. I would recommend this book to all dystopian and sci-fi fans as well as those who are looking for something a little different. It is a great book and definitely worth reading.

*I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, this has not affected my opinions or my rating in any way*
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on 14 September 2013
I wasn't completely sold on the style with this one, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Aliens usually aren't my thing, but the alien presence in this book didn't put me off. This wasn't all in your face about the visitors from outer space. Yeah, they were there, they were mentioned a lot, but it was done really well in this book so it's NOT just a book about aliens invading earth. Which is good, because it kept me reading.

I think this is part of a series (the first) but I don't think I'll read on. For me the book ended pretty well, I was satisfied with the story as a whole. But then again, perhaps it's the thought of aliens that's putting me off, as it seems there might be more in the next book.

The relationships between the characters were good. They seemed pretty natural apart from the Ambassador; I didn't understand her motives at all.

I didn't like how some things were left unexplained, but it was only little things. Pretty much everything that mattered was set out for the reader.
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on 9 June 2013
Dol lives in the countryside with Ro and some other survivors. Survivors from when the Lords landed and the Icons dropped - no one has seen the Lords or know why they're here, no one knows the purpose behind the Icons. But Dol and Ro, along with Lucas and Tima, were all born on the exact same day and they all survived The Day ..... for a reason.

I really enjoyed this new YA from Margaret Stohl. Having only ever read a short story by her, this was my first time to see her world and character building - and I enjoyed them both.

I'm not sure what this would be classed as - it's not dystopian and it's not post-apocalyptic - it's aliens invading, killing people and taking over the world. All ruling systems collapsed and the Lords took over. I liked all the characters, Dol was really interesting - she has her problems and she has ..... gifts, gifts that she, Ro, Lucas and Tima all have in common and all need to understand to help the world.

I'll be looking out for the next book in the series - and maybe I'll bump Beautiful Creatures up on my TBR list.
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on 22 June 2013
I was expecting great things after the Beautiful Creatures books, but found this somewhat lacking, it really didn't hold my interest although the concept itself was a great idea something was missing. Unlike most YA books the relationships were portrayed in a much more juvenile way. The whole story came across quite dispassionate I felt.

It was okay. Just a little disappointing & I'm a fan of the author.
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on 21 June 2013
I loved the Beautiful Creatures series so when this came out I couldn't wait to read it. Unfortunately I couldn't finish it and had to keep starting up to read it again and still couldn't.
It's beautifully written but I just couldn't invest in the story and the characters who made choices that I found really odd. However lots of others have liked it.
A YA novel.
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