Originally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
I had high hopes for this one. I loved the premise of it. A world where people are divided by language and are forbidden to even understand one another! Can you imagine how difficult that would be? Especially at a young age, when learning languages comes easily. How do you prevent yourself from understanding them. Add into that a girl (Charlaina) who has the ability to understand any language the first time she hears it. That's pretty much a superpower in my book.
Ultimately, however, the novel fell a bit short of my expectations. The story felt all over the place. New elements were thrown in without any warning and/or without any follow up. For example her sister, we don't really know anything about her and then BAM she has an ability too. I thought that could've been mentioned earlier on or at least alluded too. I think this problem could have easily been solved if the Derting had done two things 1) included more history about the main character and her society and 2) have this story take place over a longer period of time.The whole thing takes place in only a few days. it feels very rushed.
I know a lot of people really enjoyed this book, so my review shouldn't discourage you if you want to read it or are interested in the topic. But for the reasons I've listed above I just couldn't get into the story and I found myself unable to connect with the characters. I ended up annoyed with Charlie more than anything. She was very whiny and it seemed to me that she needed someone to do everything for her.
I'm at sort of an in between place for this book. I didn't really enjoy it, but I don't want to say I disliked it either. The premise was really interesting and there are some really excellent scenes. Despite the problems I had with it I think I'll still stick with the series, at least for book two. You never know what might get explained or expanded on.