manda's Reviews > Slated

Slated by Teri Terry
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's review
Jul 20, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult, dystopian, zzzzzzz
Read from July 17 to 18, 2012

I'm a sucker for covers, and I applaud this one for fooling me so successfully . The book blurb made it sound even more promising. I like mysteries; I like a book that is able to make me wonder and guess at hidden secrets. Being a YA novel, I was not expecting Slated to be mindblowingly intricate, but I did expect it to have some sort of puzzle to solve.

The depth of the puzzle was, unfortunately, very disappointing.

As the book description states; Kyla's memory has been erased - slated, is the term used in this dystopian England. It's a process the government uses on people below the age of sixteen, who are guilty of heinous crimes, most commonly terrorism.

So we can assume that Kyla is a terrorist, although Slateds are never told what their actual crime was.

The book surprised me early on in the first chapter, by taking a complete different dive than what I had anticipated. See, Kyla - as all other Slateds - are put up for adoption. So the story officially begins with her moving in with her new family, Mr and Mrs Davis, and their other Slated daughter, Amy.
I don't know what I was expecting - perhaps a girl waking up in the middle of the forest, with no memory of who she was, is a bit too cliché; but to be completely honest, it would've made a much more intriguing tale than a story of a girl being put up for adoption.

The "puzzle" that Kyla must solve throughout the course of this book was a little bit of a let down for me .

It starts off with nightmares. Kyla has vivid dreams that affects her Levo - a wristwatch-like device, except instead of being strapped around your wrist, it is embed into a Slated's arm, and instead of showing the time, it shows the person's "level". This, I gathered throughout the novel, is some sort of reflection of the individual's psychological/emotional state; negative moods would lower the levels of your Levo, and if reaching below a certain 'level', the Levo will promptly cause the individual to pass out. The idea behind this is to prevent them from, say, becoming too angry and killing someone as an indirect result of their rage.

Painfully obvious, these dreams haunting Kyla seem to be some remnants of her memory. But how could that be? A Slated never has any scraps of memory left. Enter first puzzle.

Our second mystery is revealed once we notice - which, for me, happened long before Kyla herself realized it - that the Levo was not affecting Kyla as it should. (view spoiler)

Now, although the dreams and Kyla's past identity are revealed by the end of the novel, the real questions were not. What were her crimes? What was she? Why wasn't the Levo affecting her the way it should?

There were brief speculations of why scraps of her memory were left intact, but this was neither confirmed nor denied. Perhaps this will be investigated further in the next books, but I myself am not interested in following them.

The lack of an engaging mystery was the first disappointment, but that alone would've made it worth about three stars for me. What prompted me to further lower my rating was the execution of an already, in my opinion, poor plot .

Kyla is not what I would call an interesting character. Her voice is so monotone. Memory loss does not cause robotic-like behaviour. It may cause things such as depression - which would perhaps explain a monotone character, but Kyla was not depressed.
So, my conclusion? Kyla is simply a boring character with or without being Slated. Hearing - reading - everything from her POV grew tiring after a few pages.

I won't dwell much on things such as credibility of the entire memory-wiping, or even emotion-controlling-Levo thing. I mean, I assume the Levo works by somehow calculating the amount of specific brain activity and hormones associated to certain emotions. But even this is faulty; the lateral region of the orbitofrontal cortex, along with increased secretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine, for instance, are heavily associated with anger. However, the same also applies during an individual's inhibition of physical pain. The ability of a machine to distinguish which instance is which, is highly suspect.
I could go on, but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief in this particular issue.

What I was not so lax on, was the entire concept of Slating. It was meant as a way to give criminals a second chance - to help them move on from their crimes and start from zero. How very noble.
However, the idea that it is only available for people below the age of sixteen is astounding. After all, how many ten-year-olds do you know goes around blowing up buildings? Actively engages in acts of terrorism?

If there are ten year-olds committing heinous crimes such as drug-dealing, bombing, you can bet your panties that it is something organized and planned, and these children - much akin to prostitution and child labour - are victims themselves.

Also, mobile phones are forbidden for people below the age of 21, to prevent them from organizing get-togethers (and, in extension, to stop them from organizing crimes). But really, how many people under twenty-one are busy plotting to overthrow the government? At sixteen, most people are too busy swooning over the hot cheerleader or checking out that dude's abs.

I guess it can be argued that this is exactly why it's a dystopian world. I mean, Slating under false pretenses is a common suspicion found throughout the novel.

But if it is the way the government controls the people, then why only children under sixteen? You figure, keep them oppressed young enough, they'll forget all their anti-government suspicions by the time they reach 21, and grow up into model, government-fearing citizens.

You see, if you sit down and think about it, it begins to make sense. But while reading the novel, the experience was so juvenile and tripe that it didn't make sense. I was frustrated by the simplicity of the narration, the simplicity of all the characters; they did not give me any insights on this dystopian world they lived in.

What was given to us, in terms of worldbuilding, was very detached from emotion - as was the rest of the novel. Terrorist groups vs the government. That is basically it. We are yet to find out what they're warring over (I suspect this will be explained in the next books).

There was too much tell and too little (if any) show . Dry, monotone conversations happen entirely throughout the book. I sensed no emotion from anything. Perhaps Amy was the one character who exhibited emotions, albeit in a typical, "bubbly" kind of way, which grated on my nerves.
"First of all, why were you up?"
I shrug. "I couldn't sleep."
He stirs his tea, seems about to ask something else, then shakes his head slightly.
"I see. Second question: why did you come downstairs?"
"I was looking for Sebastian."
He seems to consider this answer, then nods.
"Third: why were you so scared when I turned on the light." He says it like a statement, not a question; one that he is trying to figure out.
"I don't know. You startled me," I answer, truthfully. Though maybe it had something to do with my dream: when I'm dazzled by the light, and can't see who it is, and ...
"Speak what you just thought," he says, and I jump. (...)

Conversations such as these - when one character somehow knows that the MC is hiding something - makes no sense to me. She went downstairs. Why the fuck is that a problem? Maybe she wanted a fucking drink.

As you can tell, my mouth gets dirty when I'm frustrated.

Character consistency was also a problem for me. Kyla's Slater love-interest wanted to do something particularly dangerous. She was vehemently against this, even coming to his place to stop him. But when she gets there, instead of stepping her foot down and making him stop, she tells him instead why his methods won't work, and how to do it the right way.

One last thing, which I've read in almost all YA books of late that I've almost completely took it for granted - is your typical girl-on-girl hate .
"Want to meet up with us on Sunday?" Ben looks at me, his arm still across Tori's shoulders. "We're going to the county show."
Tori looks both surprised and annoyed.

"Your concern is touching," I say.
Surprise crosses his face, and he laughs. "Ha! You're all right. Let's see what you can do, eh?"
A few of the girls look less than pleased.

"Kyla? Wait. I want a word, please."
Hatten smiles, and holds open the classroom door for the last girls who were dragging their feet to leave his presence. They flash me a look of pure dislike and flounce out of the room.

To which I must roll my eyes and heave out a heavy sigh.

Kyla was not a special cookie, but she was treated like she was. In conclusion, I was not impressed by Slated - it had your typical average-but-not-so-average main character; the narration was dry and emotionless; we had no feel of the actual world - nevermind the dystopia, I had no feel of London. The plot was substandard and far from thrilling. I'd go on, but I think you get my point.

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03/06/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Josiah While your review is valid, you seem to have missed the point that Kyla never actually committed any crime..

manda I know (or suspect) she didn't.. That's why in the review I said:

I guess it can be argued that this is exactly why it's a dystopian world. I mean, Slating under false pretenses is a common suspicion found throughout the novel.

The point of my review was how illogical that anyone in their world would think to justify slating exactly because it's absurd that children would be terrorist masterminds.

Leigh Collazo I just finished this one and agree that it was anti-climactic. It was like it was building and building and building, then on the last page (that last sentence), it kept on building some more. No aha moment or surprises or intense anything. Just blah. I liked the premise a great deal, but I got bored.

Leigh Collazo This is, by the way, why I love Goodreads so much. When the reviews are all 4- and 5-stars, I feel validated when I thought pretty much the same thing as some of the other reviewers.

manda Anti-climatic! That's an appropriate way to describe this book! (At least, I think so)
I'm not sure if I'll read the sequel, but if I do, I sure hope it's more exciting.

Jenny I agree with all you've said. The cover is definitely better than the story. A bit reminiscent of, The Passage.

Jenny The cover, not the story.

message 8: by Bookworm765 (new) - added it

Bookworm765 Literally my mind spoken thank you. I can't believe I spent money on buying this. I almost didn't even finish it. Thinking something worth while would happen. Sadly mistaken

Madeleine Agree with you. This book is actually freaking boring. To think that I actually bought three of the books. So unlucky. At first I ignore all the shortcomings of the first book but when it came to the second book is just...... Stupid. Kyle was referred as too special well I am sick of that book too. Kayla just keep... Annoying me

Alysia I personally liked the book, I just think all the aha moments were saved for the second book.

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