Top positive review
Good, but didn't quite hold up to the end
on 4 August 2013
After reading other reviews, I didn't go into this book expecting it to be an amazing read. Others have commented that the first part of the book is amazing, but the second part is, for lack of better word, meh. Nevertheless, this sounded like just my type of book, so I figured I would still give it a go, especially considering the price.
The idea of the book is a good one. To eliminate crime before it happens, the government has ordered that everyone gets a mindscan on their 16th birthday, to check for irregularities. Anyone that fails their mindscan will not leave the compound. Our heroine, Eve, does not fail her mindscan, but neither does she pass it. Her scan comes up inconclusive and as a result, she is not allowed to leave. Eve doesn't know why she didn't pass her mindscan and cannot understand why she is different. She learns that her mother might hold a key to the results with her despise for the goverment and seemingly irrational behaviour.
As the story progresses, Eve learns to trust some of the other people in the compound, including Will, one of the guards/instructors of the strict regime and Sam, one of the other guards-in-training. Although her new life is full of one unfair and difficult scene after another, hope glimmers that she will get through all the obstacles through sheer determination, and may even see the outside of the compound again.
I feel Eve was quite a solid character, and we get to know her fairly well in the story. What got to me is that she shows little emotion over her past life. She is afraid of losing Will, and Sam, but not once do we share her thoughts on how she misses her mother, or wonder about how her mother took the news that her daughter failed the mindscan. It seems unlikely that a sixteen year old that is taken from a mother she was seemingly very close to and everything she knows and loves would simply adjust with no thoughts to her previous life. It's not a big deal for the progression of the book, but it seemed strange to me and feels like it's been forgotten in the book. On the other hand, the start of her relationship with Will is well worked out; there is no instant attraction or romance straight away, but like with the reader, liking Will just sneaks up on Eve when she doesn't expect it.
What the book lacks the most is a solid ending. What I read in the reviews before I bought the book was unfortunately correct. The story is well written and colourful to begin with, but the second part of the book feels rushed, like the author ran out of steam. The feeling I get is that the author couldn't come up with a good ending and decided to quickly skip over the resolution of the conflicts and go straight to the ending when everything has already happened, and what's left are bare bones. This doesn't make the book unreadable by any means, but you may need to use your own imagination to make the ending more substantial.
All in all, I would still recommend this book to anyone that enjoys dystopian young adult fiction. The mindscan idea is workable and the story is quite fresh. The characters are likable and while it could have held up better towards the end, the story is overall well written and the world thought through.
As a final note, I would like to point out that the cover of this book really doesn't do it justice. It looks like something straight from a bookstore's monthly romance section, which it certainly isn't. Don't be put off by it, the story really has a lot more to it than the romance, though there is some of that too!