Stand Alone (?)
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 5th 2013 by Hot Key Books
“‘You might be an Elite, Silver, but remember that in the end you’re nothing more than a dirty Red.’ Hundreds of years into the future, only one city has survived: Neo-Babel, a melting pot of cultures and peoples – and fear and discrimination. As a ‘Red’ – and ethnic Chinese – Silver could never have dreamed of becoming and Elite, a guard of the city’s Council, yet she is now on the brink of her first major covert assignment. But when Silver’s parents go missing, she is forced to confront the Outside – life beyond the walls of Neo-Babel. Silver is plunged into a strange new world of slums and dissidents, of secret splinter groups and deeply guarded secrets. And as the dirty truths about Neo-Babel begin to reveal themselves, Silver has to search deep within herself for the strength to fight against all she has ever known…”
This book is, as far as I am aware, a stand alone novel. Which was refreshing and welcomed by me as an avid reader of YA. It is a dystopian novel set hundreds of years into the future in a city called Neo-Babel, which is where the main character, Silver, lives with her parents. The book starts with a rather weird prologue which I think I understand, but doesn’t seem to fit into the story, but rather shows to the reader what society is like. We initially meet Silver in her room after a long day of training, which is where we get to meet her senior Elite- Ember, who is a pivotal character in the story. But is just one of the many antagonists. The action in this book gets started pretty quickly after Silver fails to stop the president being assassinated. Things get quite heated after this event, sending Silver’s life into a sickening spiral of events.
I enjoyed this book as an independent read, but when compared to other YA books it’s nothing special. I id expect this book to touch into racial matters more deeply than it did. Nevertheless, it was action-packed, intense and fast-paced, this is what earned it such a high rating. The characters were easy to understand and I felt that by the end I was slightly connected to them, but not wholly; which I did expect from a stand alone novel. It did do a very good job of drawing me in immediately because it was intriguing and original in the fact that it was set in an Eastern setting. This is not covered too often in the YA genre.
The characters, overall, were interesting but felt somewhat too similar. I mean this by in the sense that with all the relationships in the book, each character knew each other pre-book. Also, Silver and Butterfly’s stories involving their families felt slightly too similar. I did like their relationship, even if it was a little cliché. And that it grew over the course of the book.
For the most part, this book was great; it was an interesting adventure with some kick-ass characters. However, the lack of description took away that last star. This book may well be part of a series, and if so it’s rating may be raised in time. But this book is too much like other dystopian books and doesn’t stand out for enough for me to recommend it too my friends over books like The Hunger Games, Divergent and other best-sellers. We have the dreaded wall that surrounds Neo-Babel that the characters get past to find other civilizations that are rebelling. There is the infamous parents going missing and quest to look for them, along with discovering the fact that you find out that the system that build’s up your city isn’t as perfect as you thought it was. So basically, just another YA dystopian, but a good-ish one. I would recommend this book to fans of the Dust Lands trilogy by Moira Young.
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