I got a copy of this to review through the Amazon Vine program. Honestly I was drawn to this book because of the awesome cover and the synopsis that promised an action-packed novel. Then when I figured out it was another YA dystopian read I was a bit worried...I am kind of sick of that genre right now. However, I was pleasantly surprised...I really really loved this book. It was incredibly engaging and very fast-paced.
In 2113 ACID rules the world, they are a military police-like organization that is ruling what used to be Great Britain. Jenna Strong has been sent to prison for life by ACID for murdering her parents. Then suddenly Jenna finds herself broken out of prison by a rebel group. She gets a new identity and a new agenda. While she is grateful to be out of prison Jenna is still struggling to figure out what is really going on and who is really on her side.
I actually really enjoyed this dystopian science fiction thriller. The book is really well written and flows well. It is also absolutely packed with action and impossible to put down...I read the whole thing in two sittings.
Jenna is one of the toughest heroines I have ever read about. She spends most of her time in prison lifting weights and exercising and it has left her extremely buff. She gets ample chances to us her skills on all of the other male inmates. Not only is she physically tough but she is emotionally tough too. This poor heroine goes through more awful things than any character should ever have to deal with. She is one of those characters that I admire but would never ever want to trade places with.
Shes surrounded by a lot of other interesting characters. Although I will say I think the side characters were probably the weakest part of this book. Because the whole book is told from Jennas POV, the side characters are a bit underdeveloped and at times lack depth.
Jenna does have a love interest, I wont say much about him because of spoilers. I did enjoy how their relationship developed and how mature they both were about everything in the end. While this relationship drives some of the story, this is definitely not a romance heavy book.
The book is seriously fast-paced and incredibly engaging. There were parts where I literally had to put the book down for a second because it was so intense that I was out of breath. The story just sucks you in and doesnt let up.
As far as the dystopian world here, it is pretty typical of other dystopian worlds weve read about. People are forced to Life Partner with people the government chooses for them and they are forced to work the jobs the government thinks they are best suited for. A lot of freedoms have been taken away. As with all Dystopians the government is hiding a lot of dirty secrets. I didnt feel like the world was really anything spectacular, but it was still decently done.
This story is definitely action driven and it is Jennas pure will to survive and her ability to make things work for her, that really make this a great read. I also loved that the story appear to be confined to this one book. Everything is tied up in a realistic way and there werent really any ends left hanging at the end of the story.
Overall I was really surprised at how much I loved this book because I am a bit worn out on dystopian types of book. I loved Jennas character and I loved the fast pace of the book. The book was action packed, engaging, and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Definitely recommended if you are looking for an action-packed dystopian thriller. I will be keeping an eye on Emma Pass and checking out what she writes next.
Jenna Strong has been tossed in prison by ACID (a police force that seems to know every thought, word, and action). She's so far the only girl that has ever been in prison, so she is in a men's prison where she has to fight in order to survive. Her years in prison have toughened her up and she does her best to keep control over anything thrown at her. That is until she ends up on the run. Now she wants to figure out what happened to her that got her sent to that horrible place and who she should be able to trust. With a few identity changes, a new found love, and some poor judgement calls, will she be able to survive without ACID coming back for her?
I have gone back and forth on this novel for a little while. There are excellent parts to it. Pass has done an amazing job world building. The world is realistic and you never question it. I can imagine it in my head and even try to mesh known things together with the imagined. The action scenes are also done superbly. There were several times that I was on the edge of my seat flying through pages because of the heart-pumping action being described. Jenna can be extremely tough and just like a good action hero, she pulls off some unbelievable things.
On the other hand, there is not a lot of depth to anyone other than Jenna (and even her to a certain extent). Most of the characters fall into a quick category and then are not discussed again. They are there to be stage props. It is so odd to have such excellent world building skills and then have one-dimensional characters. This is definitely something Pass is going to have to improve on in the future. The other thing that annoyed me in the novel is that instantly Jenna is in love and stops being able to do anything. I'm sick of instant love, but even in those situations, why does Jenna stop being the type of heroine she was before? That's just silly. You don't give up yourself because you are attracted to someone else. It's not like you are handing them an apple, these are life and death situations she is facing. Use some sense!
Anyways, I decided that I liked the novel, but not enough that I will be picking it up again to read or gushing about it to my students. It was good and the action is worth the read, but it is not hall of fame worthy. I look forward to seeing if Pass improves with future novels.