First Lines: At first I think the hammering sound is the noise of waves crashing down on white sand. I’m dreaming I’m in Old Florida with my parents, before the government restricted all travel. Then, as I start to wake, I realize the noise is something else. Something real.
I was sent a copy of this by the author/publisher. It was a case of them sending me a link to the book’s trailer. (It’s pretty freaking amazing. You can find it here.) Naturally, I asked if they were giving out copies to review. Yadda yadda yadda, here were are.
Alenna Shawcross thought there was no way she would fail the test that sees whether or not you are a threat to society. Until she did. She’s immediately sent to Island Alpha, also known as “The Wheel.” All 16-year-olds who fail the test are sent here. They are cut off from what they know as civilization, separated from everyone and everything except the other forsaken. These kids are supposed to be the worst sorts…and the lift expectancy on the wheel is only 18. Alenna will fight to stay alive, fight to escape, and fight the new feelings that a boy named Liam stirs inside her…But exactly how long can she last?
I read the whole thing in a day. It’s been a while since I read a dystopia, possibly as far back as mid-May by my records (there was one a few weeks ago, but that was the only break). So I was a bit overdue for one, honestly.
I pretty much loved it. And I really didn’t think I would when I started. It’s a little hard at first to figure out what exactly is going on, but that’s because we’re jumping into a world that Alenna is quite familiar with. Once she gets dropped on the wheel and is as clueless as we are, it gets to be a much faster and easier read.
I love the underlying current of danger that resides in this book. And in all dystopias where the government controls everything. But here, that danger had so many different forms. From the civil war on the island to the government’s “feelers” – aircrafts that come to kidnap kids occasionally – danger lurks everywhere.
There were a lot of risks this book took that I didn’t think it would. More than once during a particularly action-packed scene, I would think to myself, “Oh, surely (insert horrific moment here) isn’t about to happen.” Then it did. And then it quietly smirked, “And don’t call me Shirley.” (Sorry, I couldn’t contain the Airplane! joke. ❤ Leslie Nielson) But seriously, it kept me on my toes. It was really refreshing after reading so many books where I can pretty much guess how they’re going to end. I had no idea with this one.
There are a lot of ties to other books that can be found here, most of which I think I just happen to be seeing connection to. If you like The Hunger Games (and who doesn’t?), I suggest you take a look at this. It’s a bit like the actual games, in that a bunch of teenagers are struggling to survive while the government watches them. It’s also like Divergent in that these kids are somehow different from the rest of the population in ways that completely freak out the government. And finally, this one being my personal favorite since I think it’s completely unintended, I even saw a The Wizard of Oz moment. The reveal/moment is less than a paragraph long, but once you catch it, it makes total sense how I could see this. Thus I issue my challenge to you: find out what I’m talking about. It’s a pretty important moment for the book, so I doubt you’ll miss it. You just may not see the connection like I did.
So yes. Lots of action, lots of danger, and lots of “What?! How could that happen?!” moments. Great for boys as well as girls, if boys can overlook the whole female protagonist thing like they had to do for Katniss.