The book cover art: Even on my black and white kindle it is gorgeous!
Even without the eye catching cover, I would have picked this one up! Reincarnation, new souls, Utopian society, mythical creatures and romance-what's not to love??
Well...I'm still trying to figure out of I liked this book or not. There were things I loved about this book and there were things that just didn't work for me.
What I loved:
The story concept-a new soul born into a society of reincarnated souls. What potential!
The world-centered around the city of Heart, I pictured the city of Oz, only with more of a si-fi feeling. The heart beat within the walls of the city was strange and mysterious-is the city actually alive?
The fantasy creatures-dragons and syphs are the only ones we "meet" in this book, but there are hints of others within this world. I can't wait to see what other creatures reside in this world in the next two books.
The character of Sam-He is the romantic interest of Ana. He's sweet, talented and caring, yet a bit mysterious. He sneaks out of the house at night and has conversations with others that we aren't privy to. Where is he going? What does he know that he's not sharing? He doesn't appear to be dangerous, just mysterious, yet safe. The perfect mix for the romantic lead in a YA series. He also happens to be living in a hot body in this life-lucky Ana!
The Utopian theme- a refreshing change from all of the dystopian books that seem to be popular right now!
The opening scene of the book-The main character is on her way to freedom and a new life-what a perfect place to start.
Now on to the things that I didn't love. (Notice I didn't say "hate or even "dislike".)
Ana-I actually like the character of Ana, but I found her reactions to be inconsistent with her background story. Here's what we know about her: She has spent 18 years in abusive home. She has no friends. She has had very little contact with the outside world, except what she was read. The only person she really knows appears to hate her.
As the book opens she is leaving the only home she has ever known and going out into a world full of dangerous creatures in search of the reason for her existence. She sticks her tongue out at her mother, turns and wonders out into the world.
Huh?? She just described being starved for days for doing her chores wrong, yet she casually wonders away? Wouldn't you be terrified to leave, yet ecstatic to escape? How about some feelings distrust that this might be a trick? Would you really stand there and taunt your abuser? These inconsistencies continued to haunt me throughout the book. Ana would vacillate between bold and brave to timid and fragile. I'm not saying that she couldn't have had those reactions, but the background information I had about her didn't usually support her reactions.
The inconsistencies continued to include the technology that this civilization possessed. For instance; Sam and Ana go to a library filled with books and journals. They spend time searching for specific volumes and then Sam mentions that all of the books have been digitally archived. Why didn't they start with the digital versions? Why did they keep the actual books? I can think of several explanations, but it is never addressed.
All the residents of Heart carry a gadget called a SED, which is like an advanced smart phone, yet Ana has use a hand drawn map and flashlight to navigate the city. No GPS? No street lights? It just didn't work for me.
Maybe I was just thinking too much, but I found myself being distracted from the actual story by the things that just didn't seem to fit with what I knew about this world and it's inhabitants. It really effected my ability to just sit back and enjoy the book.
Looking at the number reviews floating around in cyberspace this book is generating a lot of chatter-both good and bad. It seems like readers either love it or hate it. I'm still in the middle of the road, but I'm not ready to give up on the series just yet. The parts I like still outweighed the parts I questioned. I'm still looking forward to the next book!
Thanks to the author and publisher and NetGallery for providing me with an ARC and the opportunity to read and review this book.