I really wanted to like this book, I really did. But there were so many things that annoyed me that it was, unfortunately, beyond saving.
The writing was inconsistent and choppy in places and the characters were hard to relate to.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
1. THE WRITING
Like stated above, the writing was inconsistent: sometimes it was good, other times it needed work.
There were odd phrasings and you could tell where the edits had occurred, and where they were needed.
There was a line in the book that I just can’t get over, I know that it was only once, but there were a few lines like these in other places, though not like this:
“It was a different from the buildings that surrounded it, more beautiful and with rounded points atop the windows. Most of them hung in jagged shards, and it had been marked with white painted that identified it as claimed territory.”
2. THE CHARACTERS
You couldn’t have made them relatable? I know they are in a dystopian world, but really? I couldn’t relate to Deuce, who, only until the middle part of the book realized that her Enclave had been keeping secrets and lying to her.
And then when they got Topside, she finally started to realize just how much she had been lied to.
I think the reason that Deuce bothered me so much is due to the fact that most YA (and especially Dystopian) protagonists are unhappy with their situation, they are always looking for something different, or they are more adventurous and see more for themselves then when they are dealt, unlike Deuce, who was quite content to live out her life in ignorance and blindly following the Enclaves rules.
The opposite of Fade, who is our other protagonist, and I have to say, I did like him better because he didn’t blindly do as he was told, but he annoyed me also because he fell into himself too easily when something happened. Banner was killed, he fell into himself and blamed Deuce for her death, Pearl died, he fell into himself, and at the end there is still an apparent rift between them, because of Stalker, who is a character that I feel was just added to create an unnecessary love triangle.
Fade and Deuce initially clash, but over time bond, and I don’t know if they are supposed to be in love yet or not, I honestly don’t know. It seems like that’s the plan, but Fade never opens up, and Deuce doesn’t know how to interact with a romantic interest, so most of their scenes where I guess they are supposed to be falling in love or something were awkward.
Then it kind of went downhill even farther with the introduction of Stalker, who, as stated above, I felt was an unnecessary character, as he seemed to be there just to be the opposite of Fade, mainly in appearance.
Deuce admires the fighter in him, but other than that, I don't see anything that indicates she has any other feelings for him, in fact, seeing as how he had 'claimed' her when she was taken by his gang to be a 'Breeder', you'd think she'd have more of a problem with him joining them, like Tegan did, and even her protests didn't last long.
And I don't even know what to say about Tegan, you sympathize with her character, but other than that, there isn't any real growth, or anything to really add substance to the friendship between Deuce and Tegan. She's just kind of there.
3. THE PLOT
The plot was kind of slow to get going, nothing actually happened until the middle of the book when Deuce and Fade took the blame for one of Deuce's friends, who had been accused of 'hoarding', which she knew he was innocent of, and was shunned as a result and forced to go Topside, where you'd think things would pick up, but no. Things seemed to drag a bit Topside as well, and then they got attacked by a gang, the Wolves, twice. And I didn't care.
Deuce was taken to be a 'Breeder', and is claimed by the leader of the Wolves, Stalker, and Fade was taken to be hunted for sport.
This is where she meets Tegan, who had also been taken a Breeder some time previously.
And, after escaping, they literally run into Fade and, after taking out a great deal of the Wolves, who, as it turns out, were initiates, basically, they run.
After meeting up with a girl, Pearl, that Fade knew from his past, they locate a library where, not too long later, they are once again attacked by the Wolves, who are then attacked by the intelligent Freaks that had been encountered previously, where Pearl, who had been abducted by the Wolves, is killed.
And, this is where the book lost me, and I realized that there was no hope: they let Stalker join them. SERIOUSLY? It wasn't even a long discussion, it took ONE PAGE! And only Tegan protested.
And then Deuce on the next page, after this had been decided observes of Tegan: "Tegan hunched her shoulders, tension in the lines of her body. She seemed upset with Fade's decision." YA THINK?!?
Okay, I'm going to end this review here because I wrote it out previously, and it got WAY too ranty lol