I won't lie. I had a hard time with this story.
When I agree to do a book review, it's always with the intention of truly reading and reading into the story. I desire to examine the characters, setting, and flow so that I may give anyone reading my review an accurate view of the story. It is never my intention to put anyone's work down. This book is on the market, and the author deserve that credit.
At first glance of the cover, I was excited. It's totally smashing. And on the onset, I felt a connection with the setting. As desolate and frankly depressing as it was, I could see, feel, and smell it. That was the author's point and I heard it. But after a while the desolate world created felt bland and frankly boring. I tried desperately to get into the story. The characters helped a bit.
Vera, the main character, is bright and caring. And I liked the relationship built between her and her older brother, Will. I actually found Will's character very interesting and would have liked more of him at a deeper level. When Vera meets Kai, who I had thought was going to be a main player in the story, I was really hopeful. But after the first few chapters, he disappeared until the end. I kept thirsting to see him again, wondering how he and Vera would finally meld, but it never really happened. The vision created by Vera and Will's mother's illness and their father's sadness over it and having to bare all the financial and household responsibilities was good. But once again, I felt a bit of distance from this relationship, too.
The unexpected relationship between Vera and a character which would normally be perceived as a bad guy, the pirate, was my surprise. That was strong to me, and I appreciated the feeling Vera portrayed. I connected with her there.
The actual action in the book was good. The writer used clever gadgets and phrases to enhance his world-building. A monopoly feel between those controlling this world was present throughout the book, which made me think of struggles within corporate America. How certain demographics seem not to matter and others do. There were tragedies, which also added to the canvas painted.
Overall, I felt disconnected with the relationship between characters and their plight. Threading in a little more character growth would have most likely drawn me into caring about the world created and the characters a bit more deeply. Don't misunderstand me, though. The story definitely has merit, bringing to light a world we should hope never truly exists. It makes the reader think--which is always a positive--and be thankful for the world we still do have. Hopefully, even conjures the need to preserve our current world.
Those who enjoy YA dystopian and probably some sci-fi may enjoy this read.