This book gets 5 stars for the creative premise, 3 for style (when it's not being insufferably condescending), and 1 for its repugnant conclusions.
"D...moreThis book gets 5 stars for the creative premise, 3 for style (when it's not being insufferably condescending), and 1 for its repugnant conclusions.
"Don't feel bad for homeless kids, they love the freedom! Foster homes are full of terrible people anyway! Parents are a luxury not a necessity! Everyone everywhere are basically greedy sociopaths!"
The biggest failure is that the main characters are passive observers in the climax rather than driving it or even participating. Everything is "solved" (inasmuch as the sequel bait ending resolves almost nothing) by the actions of a secondary character. In fact the removal of the two main characters would affect almost nothing except to maybe slow down the time line. The plot and resolution would be exactly the same.
The Night Children is captivating at the start but between the completely superfluous main characters and the manifesto masquerading as an epilogue this book was a huge disappointment.(less)
I was initially excited about this book but I put off picking it up because I heard reviews about it that disturbed me. I'm regretting that now as I r...moreI was initially excited about this book but I put off picking it up because I heard reviews about it that disturbed me. I'm regretting that now as I really enjoyed it. It handles dark subject matter but manages to have moments of sweetness as well. I liked how it explored gender relations and I actually found myself caught up in the romantic aspect of the plot. (I may have to give up my romantic curmudgeon card at this rate)
A big part of the story is about Eve's exploration and discovery of gender relations outside of the simplistic men=evil indoctrination she's been fed. Eve starts off as very sheltered in this area and it is initially treated simplistically. As Eve's understanding grows, so does the books treatment of the subject. I sincerely hope this progression continues in the sequels as much as possible within a book still considered to be YA.
My only complaint is that it does seem to hold back a little in terms of how awful people can be especially in a world as terrible as the one depicted. It hints at it though and the sequels might explore those implications further.
The only part that harkened back to the negative reviews was an inner monologue by Eve comparing a near sexual assault to being like dying or almost losing an essential part of herself. I don't dispute this feeling but I hope that the sequels will also show survivor's who are unbroken and healing in the aftermath of sexual violence.(less)
I liked this book from the get go but I was surprised by how much I loved it by the end. I'm usually pretty good at figuring out the mysteries in a bo...moreI liked this book from the get go but I was surprised by how much I loved it by the end. I'm usually pretty good at figuring out the mysteries in a book but this one managed to surprise me. I enjoyed the characters and anticipate the sequals so I can keep following them, especially the women who manage to be strong, clever and proactive survivalists within the confines of their worlds. What really stands out about this book was the world building. The author has created a full, well rounded universe that is dark and real to encompass her story and it is a doozy. If you like dystopias or science fiction that's gritty and harsh give this series a try. (less)
The Other Side of the Island was a thouroughly enjoyable read. I like a good dystopic story and this one did not let me down. The worldbuilding is fas...moreThe Other Side of the Island was a thouroughly enjoyable read. I like a good dystopic story and this one did not let me down. The worldbuilding is fascinating and the characters kept my interest even if they are sometimes frustratingly flawed.
For all that, elements of the story can be a bit simplistic but this worked for me since I felt it reflected the viewpoint of the main character Honor who is both young and sheltered, especially in the beginning. She is 10 when she first arrives in the colonies and the story follows her through her fourteenth birthday. Things do grow more complex as she begins to question the propaganda she is fed and the novel takes a darker turn as she has to face the consequences of her actions. It is Honor's fears and choices that define this novel and the time spent watching her wise up is well worth it.
There is definitely room for sequals and I would enjoy spending more time exploring this world since it hints at so much more complexity but even if this is the only one I'm satisfied with what this book has to offer.
For me this book hit exactly the right pacing and tone. The action was fast but with the perfect amount of breather between peaks and the world we see...moreFor me this book hit exactly the right pacing and tone. The action was fast but with the perfect amount of breather between peaks and the world we see through the eyes of the MC is consistently bleak, brutal and interesting. The main character is a product of her extremely dysfunctional society and it is heartbreaking to see how she and others cut themselves off from each other and their struggles when faced with trying to bridge the gaps created by self protection.
I can't wait to read the rest of the books and I hope that that we get an expanded understanding of the world we glimpse in book one. (less)
Variant is well written and exciting and it kept me on the edge of my seat until the end with great characters, good action, brisk pacing, an...moreThe Good:
Variant is well written and exciting and it kept me on the edge of my seat until the end with great characters, good action, brisk pacing, and a perfectly wrought atmosphere.
I think it's greatest strength is the handling of group behaviour and group politics. The "gangs" that have formed at the school are believable both as depictions of how factions can divide and how the individuals within them behave. Everything in this book is twisted by the bizarre circumstances of the school setting and this is most visible in the actions of the characters. Everything is hidden and so everything is scary and unknown. The result is both a logical and chaotic array of human reaction and it is brilliant.
The mysteries of the school kept me guessing until the end and then some. I don't mean that in a good way though. It was great up until I realized this was the first book in a series and does not stand up on its own. It ends abruptly in the middle of the action, which I guess you could call a cliffhanger but usually a book has some sort of standalone plot arc that gets resolved while the overarching plot of the series continues. This book just stops. There are hints at more secrets to come but nothing gets resolved, everything is left to the sequel(s).
Unfortunately there are many little mysteries and even inconsistencies within this book that don't get addressed and the abrupt shift in the stories direction at the end makes me wonder if a sequel will explain them. If these things go unresolved in future books this review will drop to a 2 star because what might be brilliant could also just be crap. This book doesn't tell us, we have to buy the next one.
I'm going to hold out on picking up the sequel until I read a few reviews. The first book having no resolution puts me off so if the next one doesn't dole out some real answers I'll spend my money elsewhere. It's a testament to how much I enjoyed this book that it got away with a non-ending at all. So if you don't mind one book split into many books I highly recommend it. If you like your books to actually end steer clear or wait for the whole series to be published before you start.
Although I was to review this book through the first-reads program my review copy never arrived so this review is from a copy I purchased myself.(less)