I actually enjoyed this book despite the mix reviews it garnered. It helped that I had no preconceived notions or expectations upon reading it. I found the premise and the plot intriguing and refreshing as I've never encountered any dystopian book with the same themes especially with regards to the codes and cryptology in this book. I love mystery and code breaking and I felt that the codes in this book, though not as sophisticated and intricate as the ones in the DaVinci Code, were interesting enough that I found myself guessing page after page and relentless until the codes were finally revealed. It definitely got me hooked and intrigued.
I also like the idea of a teenage midwife and her duty to advance or hand over a quota of babies she delivers every month. It brings up an ethical dilemma between her duty to her state/country and what is morally right and allow the mother of the baby to keep it. There are other moral and ethical issues brought up in this book that are polarizing and that kept me constantly thinking what I would have done if I were in our female protagonist's shoes. And speaking of our female protagonist, Gaia, I felt that despite her brave and courageous character, I found her a little flat and restrained. I found myself waiting to find her with more life, color, and personality. There was just something lacking or missing about her, making her unmemorable. It does make you wonder how a guy like Leon could find Gaia unforgettable in the book when the only memorable thing about Gaia is her scarred face and perhaps her bravery. Gaia's character is definitely a weak link in this book. Fortunately for me, I love the plot's twists and surprises, Leon's character, and O'brien's writing. I found her writing almost flawless and fluid. I'm definitely a fan of her writing ability!
I am for sure eager for the sequel! What happened to Leon? Odin? What waits past the Wastelands? What's in the cards for Maya and Gaia? Is her grandma living or not? Is there going to be a war? And is Gaia finally come out of her stoic phase? Can't wait!