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Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside—safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions—which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses—may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts—in order to save the future.

428 pages, Hardcover

First published May 7, 2013

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About the author

Margaret Stohl

112 books5,997 followers
Margaret Stohl is the #1 New York Times, PW, USA Today, LA Times and Internationally bestselling co-author or author of twelve books, including the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES NOVELS, the DANGEROUS CREATURES NOVELS, the ICONS NOVELS, MARVEL'S BLACK WIDOW NOVELS, ROYCE ROLLS & CATS VS ROBOTS THIS IS WAR (forthcoming!) She writes the MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL comic for Marvel Comics (ongoing) and has contributed to countless videogames; currently, she is a Narrative Director at Bungie.

From the author:

Goodreads Peeps! Please note I no longer review the books on my shelf, "stars"-wise. I do list books I read, and they're all automatically marked as 5 stars. That's because a) I don't list books that I didn't like enough to finish and b) I didn't want to delete the ratings I had already given. If I particularly love a book and feel inclined to comment, you'll still see the comments here. Sadly, I have to ask: please don't reproduce these comments on book jackets, websites, or in any other medium for the marketing of books. They're only meant for fellow goodreaders. Thanks so much!


Writing has gotten me in and out of trouble since I was 15 (back then, mostly just in trouble.) For 10 years, I designed &/or wrote for lots of video games, one of which was nominated for “Most Innovative Game Design,” but I lost to a rapping onion. If you know games you get why my two bad beagles are named Zelda and Kirby.

School: I spent more years in it than a person ever should, because let’s face it, reading books is so much better than having a job. I fell in love with American literature at Amherst and Yale, earned an MA in English from Stanford, and studied creative writing under the late great poet George MacBeth at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. I taught Intro to Film as a TA at Yale and Romantic Poetry as a TA at Stanford. Don’t tell the people at Yale but sometimes I taught the section before I’d seen the movie it was about...

I live in Santa Monica, CA, with my family, most of whom were enslaved into working with me in one form or another on my first YA book for Little, Brown. I’m not kidding; when my daughters wanted to go to school I said “Why are you so selfish? Get back in there and edit,” and by said I mean yelled and maybe threw things, it’s all a haze. Now the Beautiful series has wrapped, but you can see the movie on February 13, 2013 or read my new book ICONS on May 7th. Nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy.

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5 stars
1,600 (19%)
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3 stars
2,528 (31%)
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511 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,004 reviews
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,044 followers
April 12, 2016
Uh...ah...uhm...I really don't know how to review this book because everything in the story to me is cryptic. I'm not a big fan of alien stories in the first place and not only does this book have them, but it also portrays them in the most unfathomable way that is kind of hard to appreciate. I do have a little empathy for the heroine in the story but there are not enough events for her to display her character and personality. So, I'm stuck and I don't know what to say next because there is really nothing much to say about this book. I definitely won't read its sequel.
Profile Image for Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids.
1,952 reviews204 followers
May 19, 2013
ICONS has this original feel to it that hooked me from page one. I LOVED this book! It's one of those reads you pick up expecting one thing, and end up with something a little bit different, and oh so addicting. The best way to describe this book is to say it's an exciting, action packed dystopian / science fiction read loaded with twists and turns that will leave you wanting more when you finish it. Having a storyline fueled by action, some sizzling character chemistry, intrigue, betrayal, love, and having me try to figure out what exactly is going on, was perfect! Now add that with some really creditable, layered characters who I got to know just enough of to understand their motives with ICONS, while leaving me wanting to know more about them that I didn't want this story to finish, and you have yourselves a 5 star book!

What really captured my interest and hooked me with this exciting read was they was it was written. Margaret gave me just enough of her story to keep me turning paging, revealed small doses of what was going on to keep me engaged, and left me with a few unanswered questions that make wish the sequel was already in my hands. Despite this book's size, I read it one sitting. Once I started it, there was no stopping. Though I'm a fan of Margaret's writing from the Beautiful Creatures she co-wrote, I have to say that ICONS is her best writing yet! There is something in the way ICONS is written that made me as a reader feel as though Margaret found her niche. ICONS is not like an other book I've read. I can't even begin to compare to another. Having read a ton of YA books, I have to say that in itself seems like an impossible task to accomplish.

Though this book is about Dol, her three fellow characters all share her spot light, and their dangerous adventure into finding out more about who they really are, and what exactly their powers can do is an exciting, thrilling journey in itself. This story isn't just told from Dol's point of view. To add to all that's going on with the rebellion, and the mystery behind what's really happening, Margaret has inserted articles and letters between various chapters that only adds to the danger of what these four teens are up against, from those on the "other side". Yes, that just adds more fuel to the conspiracy that's going on here on Earth after the aliens invaded and well, there seems to be a lot more going on than what gets uncovered here in ICONS. I can not wait for the rest of this series to be released.

If you're looking for an action packed book that has some fabulous character chemistry, a rebellion, characters who pull you right into their story & leave you wanting more from them long after you finish it, then I'd recommend picking this book up! Another fabulous thing about this book, is it's one I'd recommend to higher level 11 & 12 yr readers. It's a clean cut read, and one teachers could easily discuss a variety of themes from the book with their students. I LOVED IT! I'd totally recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Profile Image for Leigh Collazo.
665 reviews220 followers
January 31, 2015

More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.

REVIEW: When I first started reading Icons, I thought it was going to be a five-star book. Crazy-creative world-building is easy to spot, and Icons has unique world-building in spades. I liked Dol and loved Ro, and I enjoyed trying to figure out just exactly what was going on. Ramona Jamona the pig just cracked me up, and I was actually a little sad when the aliens killed her (not really a spoiler--it happened right at the beginning). I love the "Classified" documents that appear between the chapters, especially since they helped to explain some things while also introducing some new mysteries.

But once Ro and Dol make it to the Embassy, the story started to lose its spark. Even more than 250 pages in, I still felt like I was trying to put together the pieces, trying to figure out just what was going on. I liked the puzzle of it, but it went on a little long for me. Plenty of questions, but almost no answers. I am still unsure exactly the point of the whole thing. Why did the Ambassador want the Icon children again? Huh? I feel like I must have missed something important, but I didn't care enough to go back to figure out what. All this stuff happened, but it felt so random and disconnected that I felt lost.

While I liked Dol in the beginning, I got annoyed with her quickly. I get that she is sadness and sorrow, personified, but I didn't care for her behavior with Lucas (who I also didn't really care for). I loved Ro all the way through and just felt this tug at my heart that Dol was ultimately going to end up breaking his heart. That for sure didn't do Dol (or Lucas) any favors.

THE BOTTOM LINE: In the end, I feel kind of sad about this book. I LOVED the first 100 pages, but I just felt so confused as to the how and why of it all. Why are the aliens here? Why did they kill a billion people? What do they want to do now, and why do they need to do that? Did I miss something? Surely, I must have.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We don't have it. I plan to give my ARC to a couple of my really smart readers to see what they think. If they like it, I'll get it for the library.

READALIKES: The 5th Wave (Yancey); Shadow & Bone (Bardugo)


Overall: 3/5
Creativity: 5/5
Characters: 3/5
Engrossing: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Appeal to teens: I have no idea--I want to circulate this one a little with my better readers to get opinions.
Appropriate length to tell the story: 2/5


Language: don't remember any, but I was so focused on figuring out what was going on, I may have missed some
Sexuality: mild; kissing, characters hold their wrist markings together to "connect" each other--the scenes have an intimate feel to them
Violence: medium--lots of death, but they're not very gory; as a "Rager", Ro gets into lots of fights
Drugs/Alcohol: none
Profile Image for Zenki the Pixie.
195 reviews100 followers
March 26, 2018
1 star. :(

At the beginning, it was okay. I appreciated the plot and I was excited of how different it is from other novels. Still, I was expecting more.
When I was reading, I felt like a mere spectator. That's it. I was just reading, waiting for the words to pass by, and I just wanted it to end. I wasn't drawn to the book, unlike others and I actually thought it was corny :( I'm sorry, but it's what I think anyway.
Profile Image for Brad Sells.
1,024 reviews55 followers
May 21, 2013
Words cannot even begin to describe how much I adore Icons. You know how some people say "I can't even", and some people don't understand it? Well, guess what.

Everything about this book is phenomenal; everything. I was emerged into the world of the Icons immediately, and I never for a second wanted to put the book down. When I would, it was the only thing on my mind. And whenever I picked it back up, I would read 150 pages in one go. Icons is definitely a favorite of 2013 and of all time. I have been pushing this book onto everybody lately, and I don't see that stopping anytime soon. Seriously, if you haven't picked up Icons, you're missing out. It's wonderful!

Dol is such a fantastic main character. She's strong, loyal and fierce - everything I like in a protagonist - and she never let me down during the book. And Ro and Lucas were just great. What I love about this love triangle (I guess you could call it that) is that both loves feel genuine and real. The relationships aren't forced, and there are obvious reasons why Dol is attracted to both Rol and Lucas. Stohl did a stunning job with these characters and their development during Icons. Brilliant.

The whole concept of the Icons? Freaky as crap. They honestly scared me, even though we didn't get to see much of them (which I'm hoping we do in book two!). The fighting, the war, the struggle, the survival, everything about Icons worked for me, and this is easily one of the best books I've read.

Overall, what else can I say about Icons except that I love it so, so, so much and it is mind-blowing? Fast-paced and captivating, Icons didn't just exceed my expectations - it blew every book I've read in a long time out of the water.
Profile Image for Kathy.
2,741 reviews5,975 followers
December 29, 2014
This book was just ok until then ending. Then I finally became interested.

I had this on audiobook and it kept my interest enough to keep listening when I was driving or working but I never really fully understood what was going on or why things were happening or really even cared about the story or characters.

I liked Ro from the first time we met him but never quite got when or why Dol fell for Lucas so the love triangle didn't work for me.

By the end of the book I was intrigued and so will read the next book.

Rating: 3 Stars

Content: a little language scattered throughout, mild innuendo

Source: Audible.com
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
965 reviews741 followers
March 24, 2020

I don't know if I've read the book too fast, thus I can't feel (at all?) any emotions in this book or Icons was really lacking of that element. Mind you, I appreciate the plot and the world building but I think it has been overcooked that the author forgot to apply emotions to her characters. Seriously, I can't connect with the characters, I can't feel them within me. And I don't like a book if it doesn't carry feelings because for me feelings makes the characters and the world seems realistic and believable.
Profile Image for Hermione.
596 reviews206 followers
February 28, 2015
2 stars. So, here's the thing, Margaret Stohl. I gave Beautiful Creatures a try, but I really, really didn't like it. I didn't like it enough to give your sequel(s) (did that make sense?) a try.

But then I heard you were making a dystopian series, first book titled Icons. So I was like, Okay. She's doing something new. I'll give this a try. Even though the absolute MAJORITY of dystopians seemed half-assed, with weak plots, boring stories, and even worse world building.

Needless to say, Ms. Stohl, yours seemed to be one of those stories.

I'm very frustrated. I really am. I don't understand how authors pull off stories such as these when they having strong relationships with their fanbase. If this is so, then in theory, they should have an idea or so about what their fanbase usually, as a group, likes and dislikes.

And I am pretty sure that fans don't like half-assery, weak plots, boring stories, or even worse world-building.

(Unless ... you do. Then I don't know.)

So with that said, Margaret Stohl, your story failed to have me immersed. It failed to interest me, to wow me, to find a place into my hard, without-a-chink-in-its-armor heart. It was, in conclusion, like another one of those wannabe Hunger Games or Divergent, character- and world-building-wise.

Folks, nothing to see here. I guarantee that if you move along in the dystopian line nothing will be missed.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
July 15, 2015
I wasn't completely sold on the style with this one, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Aliens usually aren't my thing, but the alien presence in this book didn't put me off. This wasn't all in your face about the visitors from outer space. Yeah, they were there, they were mentioned a lot, but it was done really well in this book so it's NOT just a book about aliens invading earth. Which is good, because it kept me reading.

I think this is part of a series (the first) but I don't think I'll read on. For me the book ended pretty well, I was satisfied with the story as a whole. But then again, perhaps it's the thought of aliens that's putting me off, as it seems there might be more in the next book.

The relationships between the characters were good. They seemed pretty natural apart from the Ambassador; I didn't understand her motives at all.

I didn't like how some things were left unexplained, but it was only little things. Pretty much everything that mattered was set out for the reader.

I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.
Profile Image for Erin Dunn.
Author 3 books88 followers
September 30, 2015
Maybe more like 2.5 Stars

Icons is yet another post apocalyptic/dystopia/alien novel that unfortunately doesn't really have anything new to deliver.

Years ago everything changed on the day the Icons dropped from the sky and a lot of people died. Now Dol and her friend Ro are captured by the Embassy and they meet two other teens with similar "dots" on their wrists. Together all four have to unravel a conspiracy and use their uncontrollable emotions to save their future.

So pretty much this book follows a basic formula that may sound familiar. Aliens come to earth, a lot of people die, there are people with abilities that can stop it, wait there is a conspiracy too, and oh of course a love triangle. I could pretty much guess where everything was going and so about midway I had a hard time trying to focus on it.

Also, there was a lot of confusing stuff that I still don't understand. Like the whole thing with the dots on their wrists was different, but I feel like I still don't get it exactly. I feel like I'm missing a lot of specific information there. The whole dot thing weirded me out to. I don't get why it was almost sexual-like??

Another thing I feel like I'm still confused about is the aliens. I was extremely bummed to not find out what the aliens actually are, what they look like, or anything. I guess your supposed to read the next books in the series to find out, but I don't think I'll be making that commitment.

One big thing I did like about Icons was Ro. I LOVED his character. He was so good to Dol too. Very early on in the opening part (with his birthday present to her) I could already tell I was going to like him for her. Sadly, there is a love triangle though. Dol's character really irritated me because of her with Ro/Lucas. She was so wrong to Ro and he was her ride or die dude for real! Well Dol's character irritated me anyway because she was a bit dull. Although, I can't say I liked any character in this book other than Ro.

I do have to say that there were a few other interesting things happening in the book. For example there was a twist about all of the four teens that I didn't see coming. I really do enjoy a good twist! Also, I found all of the emotions and dot stuff fascinating and unique, even if it was a bit odd. I think this would have been better for me if it didn't feel like something I've already read multiple times before.

Overall Icons is an average book. I think I am just really done with "alien" novels that do not have any good alien action or information about the aliens. I can say I like this better than The Fifth Wave, which I couldn't even finish.

I recommend Icons for fans of Alien novels without any alien information or action, YA Dystopia novel super fans, and anyone who wants to see for themselves what the heck the dot/sexual thing is all about.

Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,723 reviews1,278 followers
October 20, 2021
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction/Blue Door, Voyager and Netgalley.)
16 years ago, 13 strange metallic ‘Icon’s’ dropped from the sky, and situated themselves in the largely populated areas of the world, killing millions of people, and turning others into slaves.

17-year-old’s Dol and Ro live in the wilds outside of one of these epicentres, away from the Embassy and the ‘Sympas’ (sympathisers who have become traitors to humanity). Dol and Ro are special though, on Dol’s wrist is a small blue dot, and on Ro’s wrist are two red dots, which can be connected.

When Dol’s adopted family are killed and she is kidnapped, Ro follows her and tries to rescue her, only to find themselves both captured. What they are about to realise though is that they are not the only ones with these special dots.
What do the dots mean? How many people have them? How are they linked to the Icons? And can Dol and Ro really change things for the better?

This was an okay story, but I have so many questions at the end of it that it might just drive me crazy!

Dol and Ro were both okay characters, although Ro had serious anger management issues. I think that this was to do the whole ‘icon child’(dots) thing, but even so, his temper was pretty fierce. I didn’t really feel anything for Dol at all, she was a bit boring if anything.
The other two Icon children that we met were Lucas and Tima. I liked Lucas at first, then I didn’t like him, and I didn’t really like Tima at all. The group dynamics were just difficult, and someone always seemed to be irritating someone else, and Ro’s temper and Tima’s jealousy and bitterness did not help matters.

The four ‘Icon children’ had these dots on their wrists, but I didn’t really understand the point of them – they did this weird thing they called ‘bonding’ where they held their wrists together, dot-to-dot, and this was a really intimate thing to do –almost like sex!! I’m not sure why they did this, other than it being something to do with emotions – Dol did it to calm Ro, or how they figured out that they could do this. I didn’t really understand why there were ‘Icon children’ at all, and why were there only 4 icon children when there were 13 icons? Baffling.

We also got the obligatory love triangle/square. Dol mentions about loving Ro, but isn’t sure if they can go from being best friends to being something more, never mind that they do this bonding thing with their dots. But then she’s off with Lucas, and he is trying to get her to bind dots with him (Gosh that sounds ridiculous!). Then we have Tima who is obviously in love with Lucas, and so not happy that him and Dol want to bump dots, and Ro who obviously loves Dol, and wants her to only want his dots (sorry, the dots thing amuses me, I wonder if Lucas’ dots are better than Ro’s as Lucas has 3 and Ro only has 2?).

I have to say that my biggest complaint with this book was the world building. I didn’t understand why the Icon’s had arrived or who really caused their arrival, I didn’t really understand why some people died and some didn’t, I didn’t get why Dol and Ro were living out in the middle of nowhere and how this was even possible. I didn’t really understand who was in charge, and why, who the ‘Lords’ were (think they might have been the aliens)…this list goes on, and on. I’m confused to say the least.

Thankfully the book did have an end. The four Icon children did achieve something after all this, although it was very much the start of the revolution rather than the end. I suspect though that all four icon children will not survive this entire series, I just hope that we don’t take on one icon per book, because that would be a very lengthy series, and I really just want some answers!

Overall; a confusing and sometimes bizarre dystopian novel, which raises more questions than it answers.
6.5 out of 10.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,021 reviews67 followers
May 29, 2015
«Иконы» Маргарет Штоль стала для меня книгой, на которую просто жаль потраченного времени.

Мучила, я творение на 384 страницы в течение почти 2-х недель. Пыталась читать по чуть-чуть, ежедневно. Меня совершенно не захватила история, не понравились герои, не понравился стиль написания, речевые обороты. Но я решила себя наказать, за то что в последнее время покупаю много новинок просто потому что их выпускают. Скажу даже больше, читаю всякую фигню вместо того, чтобы читать тех автор, которых я люблю. "Иконами" я себя наказала, дочитала до самого конца, через пот и слезы XDDD

На матушку Землю свалились Лорды и 13 Икон, и с этого момента время разделилось до ТОГО ДНЯ и после ТОГО ДНЯ. Много жителей нашей планеты погибли, а оставшиеся живут в пределах 100 миль от мега-городов. Все находится под контролем Лордов и Икон, а местные власти становятся прихвостнями свалившихся нлошников. Есть, конечно же, отщепенцы, которые скрываются и живут в бедности, и конечно же, есть некие дети Икон (главные герои), которые обладают супер-способностями, которым суждено изменить жить всего порабощенного человечества.

Заманчивая аннотация, автор придумала классную идею, но махнула на нее рукой. Создает антиутопический мир, но все так плохо объясняет, не понятно как этот мир работает, кроме того, что у героев все плохо. Сами герои очень однотипные и поверхностные. Автор делает упор имен на взаимоотношения героев, а не на мир, из-за чего полкниги герои разводят ля-ля, ругаются, рыдают и совершают совершенно непонятный для меня процесс – привязывают запястья друг к другу, типа, чтобы облегчить какую та «боль», видать у автора это что-то вроде секса или возможности словить кайф… а может и нет, я не поняла. Про сами "Иконы" рассказывается очень мало :( Что это за зверь, как работает, зачем, что, почему?! Додумайте сами.

Ели дочитала. Разочарована в истории и авторе. Пока в книжной серии «Lady Fantasy» это одна из наислабейших книг. Оценка 1 из 5.

Profile Image for Jen.
32 reviews22 followers
April 23, 2013
Icons is an excellent novel full of 'big feels' Icons is based primarily on fear. Humans live in a post-invasion world were the the aliens only deal with the Ambassadors and can wipe out entire cities with a single pulse. The cities are remnants of the some of the most inhabited cities in the world. The landscape, described in vivid detail, is a character all its own.

The story follows Dol a grass girl who leads a simple life away from the Hole, what used to be Los Angeles. Dol is not a normal teen, she somehow survived The Day when no one else in her family did. Along with Ro, another orphan from The Day, she leads a simple life at the Mission in the grasslands. But not all is what it seems with Dol and Ro. They are a secret hidden away from the Ambassador and the rest of the world.

With quiet character moments and pulse pounding action Icons takes you on a journey of self discovery and revolution. The future of the people lays in the hands of four teenagers who have no idea just how powerful they really are.

This is a great book for readers of all ages and fans of Stohl's Beautiful Creatures will not be disappointed in the subtle romance mixed in with all the other cool sci-fi/dystopian themes.
Profile Image for Rosie.
62 reviews5 followers
April 30, 2014
So far I'm not overly impressed. I loved the concept and everything she's hinting at is interesting but Margaret Stohl just isn't explaining these ideas. Now I understand what the characters are and what they can do is the mysterious element in the story. But when you have those elements you have to almost overshadow that and keep it as a nagging in the back of your head thing and fill the gaps with action sequences, maybe through in a love triangle and a minor antagonist to keep the readers interested but she does non of these things and quite frankly it makes the story boring. In the book Margaret Stohl is always talking about the threat of the icons and the lords. But unlike the 5th wave they don't seem to have the effect the ever looming threat those antagonists had on the readers. Overall so far I think it's a weak story, great ideas but with vertically no development, a weak romantic element and little excitement throughout the book. it's weak.
Profile Image for Michele.
109 reviews54 followers
October 31, 2017
This is one of the few situations when I wish GoodReads allowed us to give half stars ratings because I don't want to give this 4 stars, but it does deserve more than 3. I liked this book, but I didn't love it. My problem with it was the writing since the characters and the overall were pretty interesting.

The writing was just too repetitive and I'm pretty sure this is why this book is so long. Sentences are repeated to show emphasis or the fact that someone's feelings are soooo strong, which is kinda silly to me. I know it's the author's writing style, but I don't think I'll be reading more of her books. I could overlook that if it happened sporadically, but it was like every other sense. Every other sentence. You see what I did there?

I went into this book knowing close to nothing about it and I was a little surprised when I realized the plot involved aliens taking over the world. I really liked that expect and it was refreshing to me since I don't see a lot of YA novels revolving around aliens. I liked the concept of four young adults destined to save the world and how the author portrayed big cities being taken by aliens.

The beginning is very slow and a little boring, but it does get better towards the middle. I really liked the ending, I think it closed the story really well and it left a window opened for a sequel. Like I said before, I won't be reading the sequel - again, mostly because of the writing style but I'll admit I'm a little curious to see how this story will be wrapped up. Not curious enough, though.

If you're a fan of dystopian YA, like Hunger Games and Divergent, I think you'll enjoy this book. Those other books are better, no doubt, but this one is pretty good too.

For more book reviews and other bookish things: www.letmecrossover.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Jana (Nikki).
290 reviews
April 29, 2013
I was so excited when I won an ARC of this book. First, the cover - my ARC has the beautiful original pink cover, which I originally fell in love when when I first heard about the book. And that summary had me completely hooked. I was positive this book would be amazing. Positive.

And it would've been... if the book had actually been able to pull off what the summary implies.

To be fair, the first few sentences of the summary are dead-on. The book opens with the deaths of Dol's parents when she was a baby. They randomly drop dead along with millions of other people, when the Icons activated and sent out an energy pulse that could knock out other sources of power and kill (almost) everyone it touched. She's found by the Padre, who took her and another survivor, Ro, to a mission in the countryside, where she grows up hiding from the fact that she survived while millions of others died.

However, after that things really go downhill. From the summary, I was expecting some pretty good world-building. I wanted to know what was up with these Icon things, what the world was like after the aliens killed a huge portion of the population, why these kids would be held hostage, and why their emotions were so important - and the major problem I had with Icons is how all of those things are resolved (or not).

The worldbuilding is a constant influx of vague references and Dol's memories (also vague). It took most of the first 2/3rds of the book to gain any understanding as to what the Icons were and who the Lords (the aliens) were, where they came from, why they're there, and just what the big deal was in the first place. And even after that, having finished the book, I still only have a vague idea about any of those things. (Are we sensing a pattern? Everything is vague.) I actually would have really appreciated a "world-history" info-dump early in the book, so I could actually understand half the things that were going on. As it was, the vague references were confusing and annoying and left me feeling like I was missing something.

This vagueness extends to pretty much everything in the book - descriptions of action scenes (so confusing and under-described they were left void of excitement), the characters themselves (who seemed to keep secrets for no reason other than to further the plot/suspense/my annoyance), as well as the actual physical descriptions of things. For example: For a book called Icons, I expected to be able to picture an Icon pretty well by the end of it. But... nope. Still not clear on that.

The summary also talks about these four kids being held hostage. Which they were... except when they weren't. When Ro and Dol are originally taken to the Embassy, it really seemed like they were prisoners. Their doors were locked and I guess they were handcuffed at some point. ...Except then they're allowed to leave their rooms. Or when the doors are locked again, they could open them super easily and no one ever did anything about it. Suddenly it was totally normal for them to leave their rooms and find the cafeteria when they were hungry. I don't know, that whole situation constantly confused me.

The vagueness infiltrated the narration, as well. The book is told from Dol's perspective, in first person, so I expected to learn a lot about her and be able to - if not relate, then at least sympathize with her and her situation. The thing was, yes, Dol was always very emotional and sad and scared - but I never found myself feeling sympathetic toward her. I never really fully grasped what was going on in her head half the time, like why she'd get so emotional all of a sudden. I get that it's part of her character as one of the Icon Children (their emotions are somehow heightened, I guess? Maybe? Sometimes?), but she ended up feeling whiny a lot of the time, and it got annoying fast.

I also had a hard time understanding any of the relationships. First there was Dol and Ro - I was 100% sure that they were a couple until Dol explicitly states that they aren't - which happens fairly late in the beginning chapters of the book. Even after that, their relationship was weird for two 16/17-yr-olds. If Dol hadn't said flat out that they weren't together, I would still be convinced otherwise, even after having finished the book.

Then there were Tima and Lucas, the two other "hostages" at the Embassy. Tima was crazy - she literally tries to get Ro and Dol killed soon after they arrive at the Embassy... and then a few chapters later she's confiding in Dol, they're all BFFs, and she wants to work with them to help them destroy the Icons. There was no explanation or reasoning behind her sudden change of heart.

Lucas... Oh gosh, what on earth can I say about Lucas. His decisions never made sense, whether he was deciding to work with Dol, not work with her, help her again, betray her, risk his life for her... He was all over the map, with little to no reason why, except to either help Dol when she needed it, or add conflict when she didn't. And don't even get me started on Lucas as a love-interest. Why did Dol keep saying she was attracted to him? Did she ever even express real feelings toward him? Where was the chemistry?? As was so common throughout the book, the answer to all these questions is: I have no idea.

Also, for a book about an alien invasion (at least I think that's what it is), it was surprisingly short on... well. Aliens.

I'm sorry, Icons - I wanted to love you, I really did. But congrats - you get my first 1-star review. =/

{ This review can also be found at my blog, There were books involved... }
Profile Image for Megan Bacchus.
Author 2 books
May 8, 2013
This was a really enjoyable book. I haven’t read many sci-fi books and I found this book to be really good. I could very much see this book as a movie. At first the terminology was a bit confusing, such as the Day, the Icons, and the Lords. The plot involves the Lords which are essentially aliens (never have been seen) have come to earth and using Icons (giant structures that possess a power to kill) they have taken over the earth on the Day. Not everyone is dead and the rest have been allowed to live their lives to a lesser extent, with some people enslaved and forced to work on the Lord’s projects (which are unknown). Certain cities were destroyed completely and are known as Silent Cities. The other cities are run by Embassies that are led by Ambassandors. However, there are those that survived the power from the Icons. This book did explain some things such as the basics through the plot and transcripts but a lot of questions are still left. Such as is there more children with gifts? What are the projects? What do the Lords look like? What do the Lords want? I would like to point out that I hated the names of the characters. I liked the sassy-ness of Dol and the powers of Dol, Ro, and Lucas. I didn’t quite understand Tima’s power. Dol and Ro have a strong friendship and a romance that doesn’t truly develop. The romance seemed a little forced with Dol and Lucas and I would have liked more of a natural feel to it though I was rooting for those two. Though every emotions the four of them feel seemed real and realistic.

Profile Image for Taschima.
860 reviews393 followers
June 24, 2013
Icons was a book I was excited for, and I really wanted to like, not because the author wrote Beautiful Creatures (still haven't finished that series) but because of the premise, and let's be honest a little bit because of the cover (I think it looks sick, if that is still a word being used). What ended up happening is that I has to make myself sit down in order to finish it. The beginning was exciting, and held a lot of promise, but once the story was past that first rush of excitement... it kind of lagged. A lot. I was so bored I put the book down and didn't come back for days. Not only that, but at times it was a little confusing and hard to believe.

Dol and Ro are survivors of The Day. When they were babies aliens hijacked the planet and killed every one on site. They are able to chemically kill people through frequencies and such. Everybody but these two kids. They live in a mountain somewhere until they suddenly, and unexpectadly, get attacked by the Ambassador and are abducted/dragged back to the city's headquarters were they (surprise!) find that they aren't the only two kids to survive. There are two more, Tima and Lucas, and together they must uncover the secrets of their survival, their special powers (some very weird and confusing powers) and the secret of how to control their hormones. Good luck to them, specially on that last one.

First off, I didn't connect with the main character. She was just so, blah, and unfocused. Her "ability" is that she knows how everybody feels around her, which to me seems like a pretty kick ass ability, but she seriously doesn't know how to control it. Not only that, but she is so clueless about how people around her feel/are that you would think her ability wasn't even there. That or that it is essentially a joke. I certainly don't see what Ro, or Lucas, see in her. Yes, there is a love triangle, and not one I enjoyed or justified. Sometimes I do enjoy a good love triangle.

Just, not this time.

Ro I can understand. He is a very ill tempered guy who has been Dol's childhood friend. But, I don't think I know Ro very well. At first he seemed this mild mannered technological dude, then all of a sudden 360 change occurs and he is this HULK guy with a temper. Oookay. Lucas on the other hand was the guy we were SUPPOSED to fall in love with, but all I can say is that I REALLY disliked him. He is kind of a jerk and not the kind of jerk Damon (Vampire Diaries) can be (swoon anybody?) but the kind of jerk you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.

Exhibit A:

"A shadow passes over Luca's face.
"Don't say that, Lucas. It's not fine. I can feel it, remember?"
"I felt close to you. I wanted to make you feel better. If you don't want to feel better, that's your choice." Lucas tosses my binding at me. He's angry.


Excuse me? Talk about pressuring a girl! Not only that, but being a total jerk about it!

Exhibit B:

"I stare at him, confused. "Isn't that the point? Why we're here?"
"Are you really that—"
"What, Lucas?"

Though, really, who can blame the guy for making that conclusion? Because every time Dolores is close to this guy that is exactly what she acts like, following him around with puppy eyes and hanging on his every word.

"Kissing Lucas is like kissing a kiss itself. There's no way to explain it any better than that. And I don't even want to try."

That is the LAMEST way ever to describe a first kiss. Kissing this guy is like kissing a kiss itself?


If this is the kind of writing we can expect for the rest of the series, kill me now.

Now Tima, the rebellious "bitch" of the series is actually 10 times more interesting than Dolores! She has spunk, and turned out to be a major babe with brains! Thanks to her they manage to find out a bunch of different things from the ambassador, without her even knowing it. Girl got some serious skills. She can be terrifying true, and a little moody, but she doesn't bore.

Yes, I am going to continue reading the series. The story does have potential for greatness, and maybe this first book was just a mild bump in the road to said greatness. I am interested in the said "lords" that rule over the planet from a back curtain. I am interested to meet CAP Miyazawa (the human ruler administrator of all). There were a lot of bread crumbs left in the story to hook you in order for you to keep reading. So I am holding hope that the second one is more alive than the first.
2 reviews
May 8, 2013
Icons is original. Complicated. Emotional. Powerful. And sometimes difficult.

And entirely worth the read.

Here's the hook for me - it's not the alien invasion, although that's pretty well done, in a fresh way. It's not the love triangles or squares or whatever. Icons is great because of Stohl's portrayal of four real kids who have real, messy, confusing feelings that are more powerful than they know how to deal with.

Sound familiar? That's because it describes every young person on the planet. And most adults.

Is Icons slow-paced at times? Yes. Is it sometimes confusing? Yes. Is it a a good story, in an original setting, with lots of twists, and characters I cared about? Yes! But more than that, Icons is an exploration of emotions that seem too big to contain - sadness, fear, rage - this book plumbs the depth of real, true, sometimes ugly feelings - and here's the best part. Icons turns these complex feelings into strengths rather than weaknesses.

Kids - well, adults too - often feel like if they are sad, something's wrong. If they lose their temper, they are bad. If they are afraid of people, they are broken. Emotions are to be shut down, or feared.

Icons is a beautiful story that shows how feelings can heal. How they can change the world. How feelings - even 'bad' feelings like fear and rage - can be instruments of mass salvation.

I gave Icons four stars because, to me, it's rough around the edges. Having said that, Icons is at the same time so raw and real that in a way, the flaws become part of the overall strength and the appeal of the book.

Now, on more technical notes, as a HUGE science fiction fan, I was concerned about reading a supposedly YA book. I read Hunger Games and immediately recognized it as a watered down rip-off of Battle Royale, the Japanese original book (great and also raw). I read Harry Potter and it was fun, but I was appalled that this could be put on the same shelf as Tolkien. So I'm kind of particular about originality.

Icons, to me, is the most original take on the well-worn alien invasion trope I've seen in a long time. It's not dumbed down - which could be a problem for some, but I appreciated it. The ability of a race to completely stop your heart? That's terrifying.

Be aware, the sci-fi aspects are a little complicated to get your mind around, but that's because THEY ARE ORIGINAL! And that's a good thing!

I don't want another book where the aliens are called "others" and they use an EMP blast from outer space, and where they simply take over human bodies as hosts (I'm looking at you, Yancey and Meyer).

Icons tries harder to do something new, and I appreciated that.

Overall, I would recommend Icons to fans of science fiction, and try to slip it into my teenage friends' hands, in hopes that they can find strength in their big feels, and turn the sometimes scary emotions into something positive, powerful and life-changing.
Profile Image for Bèbè ✦ RANT  ✦.
405 reviews133 followers
April 13, 2014

With insane world-building, complex and creative characters, Icons has become one of the creative works of Margaret Stohl. After writing Beautiful Creatures, she became super popular and everyone who read her first book and a fan of it, has to read Icons.


The story begins with introducing us to the events that happened on The Day. It doesn't explain it in details but gives us some sort of background on what happened. Fast forward about 15 years, Dol is with RO, a boy who she grew up with. Since the Aliens, or they call them Icons, took over the world, there have been different stations set up for people who still wants to have some sort of limited freedom.

On her birthday day she gets a present from Padre. A book that is about Dol and her powers that she suspects she has. But when alians kill Padre, she is taken to the Embassy to meet the woman in charge and meet others who are more like her than she suspected.

“I am powerful because of who and what I am. Not because of who I am not.”

I was surprised at how much I was enjoying Icons. Not that I wasn't enjoying the book but usually the complex world-building takes a lot of details to put together and actually make sense. I did think that Stohl did an incredible job. The story took a slower pace after about half way but kept the action going, although at slower rate. I really liked Dol at first but as the book goes on, being in her head is exhausting and I really wished to see other's POVs to get a better view of the story. Overall, this was a neat read and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

Audiobook Notes: Narrated by Therese Plummer, the story took a better turn and made us see more of the situation that was going on. In between the chapters, there is a secret file that is being said as "Doc" - automated program that meant to serve people as a secretary, security, and overall Embassy protection. This audiobook feature really makes the story stand out and be memorable.
Profile Image for Ruth Silver.
Author 23 books1,110 followers
May 24, 2013
I wanted so much to love Icons. The cover looks amazing, I really enjoyed Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures (though quite bluntly was less impressed with the second book in the series) and this is how I felt about Icons, not impressed. There were a lot of flaws with the story, specifically about these Lords. I can understand the point - we're being oppressed and there's not much one can do about it with these giant Icons enslaving us - but I have trouble with the lack of emotion I felt in knowing it. There was nothing that made me care about the world they lived in or the characters. I just couldn't connect with the story.

The pacing often didn't move fast enough and I couldn't understand quite a lot of the characters motivations for doing what they're doing. I was ready to put the book down at several points but I'd made up my mind I wanted to read the end. Some books get better as you delve more into their world (Under the Never Sky).
Icons had a brief moment near the end where the story moved forward but it felt much too late and even with the slightest twists and turns, it wasn't enough to make me recommend this novel. I love a good sci-fi book. I'm all for aliens, dystopian and even some romance but Icons didn't live up to my expectations.
Profile Image for Jaime (Two Chicks on Books).
825 reviews400 followers
March 13, 2013
It was good. Not spectacular. The first half was pretty slow but if finally picked up halfway through. I didn't really connect with any of the characters though and that was a problem for me. I will be interested to see where the rest of the series goes and will be reading it. I find I don't have enough words for a full review on my blog so this is it.
Profile Image for Allison.
39 reviews29 followers
Want to read
July 16, 2013
This should be really interesting-after her take on "witches" and "vampires," I can't wait to see Stohl take on "aliens." Good for her. Hope to see a romance and plot just as good as Beautiful Creatures.
Profile Image for Lauren.
140 reviews26 followers
July 19, 2015
This was a complete disappointment. I don't read a lot of Y.A novels that focus on aliens/heavy sci-fi but I've seen enough TV shows and movies to know when an idea is just not working.
 photo 11 Disappointed.gif

The concept of Icons had potential and, as I said above, seeing as I haven't read much in this particular genre I didn't find myself noticing an over-abundance of cliches in regards to sci-fi. Unfortunately I found the Y.A cliches to be front an centre instead. Get your checklist ready:
 photo Cant be good 12.gif
- A heroine/hero who is no-one important suddenly becoming the most important person in the world. Check.
- Love triangle. Check.
- Triangle including childhood bestfriend/he's-like-my-family-but-he's-kinda-hot-too character AND we-just-met-and-you-are-fiiiine/mysterious hot guy with connections to bad guys character. Check.
- Special powers because main character has to be special. Check.
- Said main character thinking they are nothing yet everyone sees their potential/beauty/attractiveness/importance. Check.
- Extreme moments of TSTL (too stupid to live) from said special heroine. Check.
- Evil government is evil because you'll have to buy the sequel. Check.

I could go on. I could also be nitpicking but Icons really drew my attention to said cliches and made it the only thing I could see.
 photo 11 i dont like it.gif

Icons also implements the old writing tactic of vague storytelling. Let me say this once; I dislike vague storytelling. It frustrates me to no end. Recently I read The Maze Runner and its vague storytelling took me to the point where I almost quit the book half way and opted to watch the movie (in the end I finished the book and then watched the movie). And that book is nowhere near as vague as this book.

The main characters were being held back from information to the point where it felt forced in order to comply with the story needing to remain in the dark. The problem with this is it forces you to create characters who will allow this to happen, and only stupid characters would allow such a thing. So in the end your characters come across as complete idiots.
One Example:
Dol receives a book from the Padre on her 16th birthday. Padre dies moments after this occurs but before he dies he tells her to read the book as it contains everything she needs to know about herself and the world. Every question she has ever had about herself and her powers will be answered. And what does she do two chapters later? She bargains the book away without having even snuck a peek at its contents.
 photo Tennant what.gif
What.The.Actual.Hell. Are you freaking kidding me, Dol?

Ladies and gentleman, our heroine is one bright spark. And how are we supposed to trust the narrative if the author allows such plot conveniences to occur? Nothing is ever going to be discovered if the characters keep this up.
 photo 11 annoyed.gif

Speaking of the characters, we have four main characters with extra special powers (that are never fully explained) and slight physical differences to differentiate them. These characters are so flat you can almost see through them. This is another downside to vague storytelling, keeping your main characters and their actual purposes in the dark causes one dimensional characters who are defined by one trait/emotion.

I also had issues with the dialogue, which may be a side-effect to the one dimensional characters. All dialogue was stilted and could have been spoken by any of said four main characters. The author also had a habit of differentiating who was speaking by using various; 'she said, he yelled, she snidely remarked, he snapped,' etc. A simple 'he said', 'she said,' being used for the majority would have worked better and not been so jarring. I actually found myself stopping when these points would occur as it took me out of the story and reminded me this was in-fact a book.
 photo Capaldi shut up.gif

Then there's the dreaded love triangle. Unlike most scenarios, I have zero investment in this. I hate main heroine Dol so I couldn't care less who she chooses in the end.
 photo 10 dont care.gif
As for her two suitors we have one-toned anger magnet Ro (The Hulk called, he'd like his anger issues back) and 'I-have-pretty-blonde-hair-but-my-mum-is-the-bad-guy-so-I'm-conflicted' Lucas (I had to google his name just then, thats how little I care about his character). The story could end with them agreeing to a polygamous relationship and I still wouldn't care.
 photo 11 amy embarressed.gif

As for positives. Well, I quite liked Fortis and Doc. That's it though.
 photo 11 shrug.gif

If you like a slow-burning, vague storytelling then give Icons a go.
Or if you are like me, and find the little to no resolution completely unsatisfying, then best to give it a miss and save yourself the trouble.
 photo Doctors run.gif
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews546 followers
May 7, 2013
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: Interesting story with a mix of Sci-fi/dystopian elements weaved in. There was good action, but I had a hard time connecting to the characters.

Opening Sentence: One tiny gray dot, no bigger than a freckle, marks the inside of the baby’s chubby arm.

The Review:

Doloria Maria de la Cruz is special — she survived The Day. When she was a baby there was an attack on Earth from an extraterrestrial life form called the Icons. On that day the power stopped and over a billion people’s hearts just stopped beating. Dol’s whole family died that day but she didn’t. Many years later she is living in the countryside, safe from the Icons and the people that now run the government. She lives there with her best friend Ro, who also survived that day.

The world is run by the Embassy and they have a contract with The Lords (the owners of the Icons) to provide people to build their projects. No one ever comes back from the projects and no one knows what The Lords are building. Soon after Dol turns 17 the Embassy comes for her and Ro. They are taken to Embassy headquarters where they meet Lucas and Tima. Turns out that all of them have some remarkable similarities and they know that there’s a reason they are all brought together. They all have a different talent that made them more than human, and now they need to figure out why they are different and why they survived.

Dol is our main character and the story is told from her point of view. Dol can feel everyone’s emotions and if she touches you she can see your memories and feel your thoughts. At times it is hard for her to control her power and it gets overwhelming for her. She is a very loyal and trusting person which gets her in trouble at times. Honestly, I didn’t dislike Dol, but there really wasn’t anything about her that really stuck with me. I feel like she was very forgettable and I didn’t really connect with her on any level.

Ro has a hard time controlling his emotions. When he gets upset it is like he in on fire and he is unstoppable. He doesn’t always have complete control of himself and he can be very dangerous. But he can ignite that feeling in others as well and get people really rallied up if he wants to. He has known Dol for pretty much their whole lives. They have always been friends but it has turned into something more for Ro. He really cares about Dol and would do anything for her. Dol also cares about Ro, but she doesn’t know if she can be more than friends with him. I really don’t see them ending up together, I felt that they lacked chemistry and they just didn’t click for me.

Lucas is the son of the ambassador. His talent is that he is a charmer. He can get people to do whatever he wants and everyone loves him. You would think with someone that has that kind of influence they would use it to their advantage, but Lucas really tries not to. He doesn’t want to manipulate others, and he really tries to be a good person. Because his mother runs the Embassy the other Icon children have a hard time trusting him. He starts to develop some feelings for Dol and I actually liked them together. I felt that they had some good tension and chemistry. The romance in this book did fall a little short for me. There were some cute moments but really nothing that gave me butterflies or got my heart beating a little faster, which disappointed me.

The last Icon Child is Tima. She is the master of fear. She uses fear and anxiety to motivate tactical perfectionism in battle, but she rarely will participate in any physical combat. She is a computer whiz and she happens to be totally gorgeous. She has had a thing for Lucas for a while now, but he doesn’t seem to notice. She doesn’t really like Dol or Ro when they show up but she eventually learns to respect them.

This was a good read, but at times I got a little bored with it. The idea was interesting and I enjoyed the world that Stohl created, but there were moments that dragged a little. I also had a hard time with the characters, none of them really stood out to me and they seemed easily forgettable. I did enjoy the story, there was pretty good action and some twists I wasn’t expecting. Even though this book did have a lot of flaws, I still enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next installment in the series. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys dystopian or sci-fi books.

Notable Scene:

The blast does more than blow open the door.

The blast has rocked the Tracks so hard, the car seems to have gone off the rails. My ears are ringing. The floor is no longer beneath me but next to me. The roof is gone, and through the jagged hole that remains, I can see the open air.

I pick myself up from the tangle of Fortis and wall and floor, the debris of what used to be the prison car, and take off running through the opening.

“Thank you, Fortis,” Fortis calls after me. “You’re welcome, little Grassgirl. Anytime.”

I run faster, along the smoking cars. I can tell from the footsteps that there are Sympas behind me. Probably half a dozen more around the cars. I didn’t feel them coming. I have to pay better attention.

But thanks to the Merk, I have a head start. I have to get to the water. That’s all that goes through my head. I know I’ll be safe there because I know what I’ll find—and who. I turn, more sharply now, disappearing into the tall weeds on the west. My feet catch on the rocks beneath me, but I stumble forward. I know the Sympas are close behind me, and I don’t look back.

I keep running, moving in the exact direction where I can feel the bonfire ahead of me—racing toward the shore, just like me. My one sure trajectory, my best chance for survival.


FTC Advisory: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette Book Group provided me with a copy of Icons. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for usagi ☆ミ.
1,197 reviews277 followers
July 1, 2013
4.5/5 stars!

Wow. Where to begin? This book is pretty short at a shade under 300 pages, but it packs a huge punch. I didn't think that Stohl was going to go into the space opera area of YA (a sub-genre that badly needs boosting), but I'm glad she did, because she's done right by it. There's a lot going on in this first book in the "Icons" series, and now I'm pretty much slavering for book two. If you're looking for an exciting sci-fi adventure that still stays within the familiar elegance of Stohl's prose, definitely be sure to give "Icons" a try!

So, "Icons". A term for religious art (mostly within the Russian Eastern Orthodox practice of Christianity). A term for someone legendary, worth worshiping. And in this series, a term for the aliens that have come in fifty years from now and have taken control of Earth. Also a term for the weapons that are being shaped to fight them - the Icon Children. We get to see four of them in this book - and the idea of each one symbolizing an emotion does harken back to Russian Icon paintings, which I thought was really clever on Stohl's part. There's a lot of religious imagery tied in with the space opera/alien side of things, and I never thought the two could really mix until Stohl mashed them together.

All of the technical areas of this book are pretty much flawless, not gonna lie there. The worldbuilding is fantastic - using that mix of religion, terror, dystopia, and aliens/space opera really helps build up this world where the Megacities have gone silent, and the ones left are just barely sustaining humankind. We have a mix of chapters from Dol's POV, and documents from both before and after The Day - and it all flows really easily and really well. For worldbuilding, if you have a society that's different from our current one - be it past or future, I love it when authors use "documents" and "diaries" to help explain the world and root it more firmly in our minds as the audience. And slowly (but surely) throughout the book, we get definitions and explanations as to what REALLY happened in terms of The Day, and the what the Icon Children really are, and so forth. Me gusta.

The character building and relationships - while there's a sort-of love triangle that happens, I can see why it did, and why it worked. It felt like a kind of obvious route to take, but it worked. I won't spoil how or why it did - that would be spoiling a large part of the story, but it seemed more or less resolved at the end of this book, and I'm hoping for new characters and a new set of Icon Children for us to play with for book two. Because if there are 13 main Icons...that would mean there has to be 13 Icon Children to take them down, right? Otherwise I was really satisfied with how the Icon Children for this book were built for us, though I could have used a little more on Tima - her time felt a little squished and I felt like she was a little neglected. Lucas was a close second there in terms of lack of development, but it was enough for us to go on, and continued to get stronger throughout the book. But Tima continually was a bit neglected, and she was the weakest character. I hope she gets the attention she deserves in subsequent books. Dol and Ro were fantastic, though, and very strong. As was Doc.

Otherwise? I just love the mash of dystopia, biopunk, space opera, and religion that came with this book, and its pace was non-stop action until the final page. I wanted it to be longer. I didn't want it to end. So you can imagine how excited I am for book two. It looks like it's going to be a crazy bloodbath full of mystery and betrayal, and I am so down with that.

"Icons" is out from LBFYR in North America on May 7, 2013. If anyone thought Stohl might have been a one-trick pony with her work on "Beautiful Creatures", I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how wrong you'll find yourself to be. One of the best of 2013 by far, and I just want that second book NOW.

(posted to goodreads, shelfari, librarything, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)
Profile Image for Matilda.
956 reviews3 followers
July 28, 2013
I really wanted to like this book but it just wasn't for me...
I was really looking forward to it and after I saw the trailer I was excited to read it... yet if left me with a sour taste.

Your heart beats only with their permission.
Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.
Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.
She's different. She survived. Why?
When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.
Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Things I liked....
- The idea.... now the alien invasion idea was quite... bad as after reading the fifth wave earlier this year I saw how well an alien invasion could be written and when reading this alien invasion I felt even though it wasn’t about the same thing it fell flat.... But the idea about the special children ( Cannot describe it any other way than that)....was quite a weird and new idea...
- Fortis....the Merk.... I liked him... a lot...I liked him a lot ;D
- It was a quick read...it was 427 pages yet I finished in 2 days....
- Tima...when we first met her even though she was evil I liked that scene but then she kinda turns into a jealous non-girlfriend... which annoyed me but it sorted it self out...

Now there was things that I didn’t like and these are as follows
- The plot dragged there was this huge part in the middle and towards the end which I was turning the pages and just sighing...nothing was really happening...

- Dol<(main character) With Dol there is nothing to say other than I didn’t like her much I just couldn't connect with her but then we have Lucas...who they have a thing which I didn't know what to think about.... I am on neither Lucas or Ro team.... I want Fortis...but I would rather him for me....but if Dol and him start something I think I would read it!
- The love triangle.... It didn't click with me.
- The end climax which was a really good idea didn't work for me as I could tell what was going to happen
- I don’t understand these Icons things... but I feel this can be rectified in the other books as we learn more and more about them.

(may be slight spoilers in the overview)

Favourite character: FORTIS ( Doesn’t his name seem like he could be the child of Four and Tris from divergent...)
Best line: “I am powerful because of who and what I am. Not because of who I am not.”
Best part( beginning, middle or end): I don’t know the beginning was interesting-ish but the middle dragged and so did the ending.... So it’s gonna have to be middle
Character who needs to die. Like now. : Lucas ( sorry...) Lets consider how many times he betrayed them...at least 3 and every time they were like “ Come on back!”
Reaction to end: Ok...its over
Summing up the book in three words: Decent, Interesting, Drags
Profile Image for Saruuh Kelsey.
Author 23 books83 followers
September 21, 2014
More intense, hard hitting, and emotional the second time around. Safe to say, I'm wrecked again by this book. (28.07.14)


Icons is absolutely phenomenal. I had first expected it to be a run-of-the-mill dystopian society, but it was written by Margaret Stohl, whose writing I love, so I was always going to read it regardless. But what I actually got, what this book delivered, was so far from what I expected, and a far cry from run-of-the-mill.

Icons is filled to the brim with exhilarating action, captivating, descriptive writing, and unique characters. From the prologue I was hooked and unable to stop reading. Set in a future world in which aliens known as the No Face have seized control of the Earth, and where a constant threat of instant death looms over the remnants of humanity, Icons tells the story of Dol, Ro, Lucas, and Tima, teens who are different, who possess heightened emotions and the ability to sense the feelings of those around them. Known as Icon Children, the four know that they are different and that they must keep their abilities secret to survive. But what they do not know is that they are human weapons created to destroy the Icons, and to bring down the No Face.

The characters of this book are strong, each different in their own ways, and incredibly fascinating people. Dol, a Weeper, feels all of the sadness in the world around her, and though she is constantly overwhelmed by the misery and despair surrounding her she does not, even once, give up. She is a brave and incredibly strong protagonist, and not once does she become whiny or irritating as most characters often do. Dol is one of the best Young Adult female protagonists to grace the pages of a book.

Ro, a Rager, can use fury to produce incredible physical strength, making him capable of just about anything. But despite his physical strength, and despite his powerful anger, Ro has an underlying vulnerability, and his affection and loyalty to Dol shows him as gentle and protective to a fault.

Lucas, while being sketchy at times, and while Dol is unsure whether she is able to trust him, is my favourite character of this book. Despite being the son of Ambassador Amare, a woman with great influence in a world where humans have none, Lucas is not privileged, superior, and condescending as I had expected him to be. He is insecure, broken, and scared more than anything of losing his mother. Though his actions come across as him working against Dol and Ro, beneath everything that he does is a desperate need for his mother's approval - and his mother's love. Lucas broke my heart, and scared me half to death!, and I can't wait to see where the rest of the Icons series takes him.

Tima, the fourth Icon child, is introduced as unfriendly, hostile, and head-over-heels for Lucas. While the latter doesn't change, Tima over the course of the book softens towards Dol and Ro, and she shows herself to be caring, brave, and very loyal. I found myself, against all odds, actually liking her.

The emotions created within this book, within the characters and their words, their actions, and their surrounding world makes this book a turbulent read with vivid and all-encompassing emotion. With breath-taking writing, Stohl creates an Earth that is far-fetched but eerily real and completely believable. Icons is instantly one of my favourite books, and I impatiently await the sequel. (17.04.13)
Profile Image for Jon.
599 reviews625 followers
April 12, 2013
Check out more of my reviews!
I'm a huge fan of Beautiful Creatures and all of the other books in the Caster Chronicles series. When I heard of Icons, I was extremely excited because I was so excited to see how Margaret Stohl would fare without Kami Garcia. Stohl blew me away with Icons and it exceeded any expectations I had.

It's so hard to express how much I loved Icons in one short review. Margaret Stohl tosses out all of the generic alien stories and creates her own original alien mythology. All of the world building and alien mythology is like nothing I've ever read about! The aliens (or should I say, The Lords) are not your typical aliens at all, they don't say "Take me to your leader" or hyperbeam people into their ships.

Icons is more of a dystopian novel than paranormal book even though it's about aliens. I would have liked to read more about Earth before the Day but otherwise I really enjoyed this book. I love how Stohl used documents, letters, and posters to help advance the story. I definitely didn't expect any of the plot twists and that left me completely shocked. Icons is a fast-paced, fantastic dystopian novel that will leave you desperate for the sequel.

Even though Stohl creates a sort-of love triangle, she doesn't overly emphasis the romance. The romance is definitely a component of Icon's plot but it doesn't slow down the plot in any way. The romance isn't overdone at all and it was done extremely well. (This is coming from someone who usually isn't a huge fan of romance in YA novels.) I just hope that in the sequel, the romance doesn't become too overwhelming. Don't make me choose between Ro and Lucas, seriously I like them both in different ways. Also I don't pick teams in YA books because I just hate all the "Team Edward" or "Team Gale" nonsense.

I really love all of the characters Stohl created, even the evil ones. I have such a strong connection to all the characters and I have such strong feelings for them. Al of the characters are so wonderfully developed that I felt like they are real people. Stohl brought her characters to life so beautifully that they are real and they live on in my mind.

I've said it then and I'll keep on saying it. Stohl is an extremely talented writer and her writing style is absolutely fantastic. I was so engaged by Stohl's beautiful writing and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. It The pages flew by while reading Icons and by the end I desperately needed the sequel.

I can't recommend Icons enough! I am seriously in love with the world and characters that Stohl created. It's no surprise to me that Alcon swiftly optioned Icons to become a movie. I think Icons would make a terrific movie and I hope it becomes a movie soon! I am so excited for book #2 of Icons, I am legitimately desperate to find out what happens in book #2. Thank god, this didn't end on a cliffhanger otherwise I probably would have had a heartattack. (I know I'm dramatic but you get my point!). Icons is Margaret Stohl's brilliant solo debut and I look forward to reading more of her upcoming books. Now I have to cross my fingers that I get an ARC of Unbreakable by Kami Garcia.
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