Emily May's Reviews > The Murder Complex

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
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it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult, dystopia-utopia, coverly-love, arc, 2014

That's it. No more YA dystopias for Emily. I think I've said this before so I might be lying again, but I am so ready to get away from this exhausted and overcrowded genre.

Finding some level of originality is a fundamental problem for those authors who decide to jump on the bandwagon and tackle the world of YA dystopian fiction. If you can possibly make a dystopia out of it, then you can bet it's already been written in the past few years since The Hunger Games took centre stage. Every form of tyrannical government has been introduced and overthrown, every possible nightmare world has been explored, every little thing that people love has been outlawed and rediscovered - one of the latest even going so far as to get rid of food!

Therefore, new authors to the genre almost always produce one of two things: 1) a book that is a carbon copy of all the others before it, or 2) a book that has been deliberately over-complicated in a bid to make it seem original. The Murder Complex falls somewhere between those two.

On the one hand, this book seems like nothing we haven't read a million times before. World in the shitter, young lovers from two very different worlds, oppressive government... like a less compelling version of Marie Lu's Legend trilogy, which I do recommend if you haven't checked it out (the first book isn't the best one, though). But in this case, Cummings has also developed a dense plot that left me feeling confused, rather than wowed. One could attribute this to some fault in intelligence on my part, but I feel something less deliberately convoluted would have made the story better. I actually had to go back and read the blurb at times to remind myself of the basic premise.

The narration is split between our two main characters - Meadow and Zephyr. Meadow is a standard YA female MC who is defined by her badassery and willingness to kill if necessary; while I am pleased that seeing women as heroes and fighters is no longer an oddity in fiction, it is hard to care about them when they are so lacking in any real personality and development. Zephyr, on the other hand, is an orphaned Ward whose job it is to clean up the corpses of murder victims. He is also prone to mysterious blackouts and dreams about a silver-haired girl (guess who?). The real problem where the narration is concerned is that the two voices never become particularly distinct - a necessity if multiple POVs is to work.

Plot twists mount up, new discoveries that unmoved me are made, and instalove reigns supreme. I did not hate this book, there were a few scenes that I thought were particularly well-written and engaging. But there was no real spark in this story and, despite the bloody and dramatic plot, I finished it with no interest in what the sequel holds.

I would only recommend this to hardcore dystopian romance fans who want more of the same.

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Reading Progress

December 1, 2013 – Shelved
June 12, 2014 – Started Reading
June 12, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)

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message 1: by William (new)

William I've heard some decent things about Feed by M T Anderson, although I've yet to read it. You might give that a try if you ever start to question your resolve.


message 2: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine I've heard similar things about Feed by Anderson, but haven't tried it. And I'd had such hopes for trying this one /sigh I may be on that same thought pattern of YAs in general


✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) I'm getting tired of YA in general. Except from a very few books(Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Cracked) the last ones I read bored me to death. They were just dull, unoriginal and just not worth it.


Faye, la Patata This is such a disappointment. I wanted to read this one too but every time I think of the premise my head starts to hurt. I actually would rather read a simply dystopian than one that's all over the place and full of things that don't make sense.


Emily May William wrote: "I've heard some decent things about Feed by M T Anderson, although I've yet to read it. You might give that a try if you ever start to question your resolve."

I've heard good things about Feed too, however one of my close reviewer friends wasn't too impressed so I keep putting it off. Maybe I'll give it a try soon.


Emily May oOSarahOo wrote: "I'm getting tired of YA in general. Except from a very few books(Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Cracked) the last ones I read bored me to death. They were just dull, unoriginal and just not worth it."

I actually completely agree. I've recently turned to reading more adult fiction because nearly all new YA releases have been disappointing, IMO. Maybe the "genre" has finally run its course?


Emily May Faye (The Social Potato) wrote: "I actually would rather read a simply dystopian than one that's all over the place and full of things that don't make sense."

Me too, Faye. It's one of my pet peeves when an author over-complicates a plot or narrative without actually adding anything to the overall book.


message 8: by William (new)

William Emily May wrote: "William wrote: "I've heard some decent things about Feed by M T Anderson, although I've yet to read it. You might give that a try if you ever start to question your resolve."

I've heard good thing..."


I'm honestly on the fence. Once of my GR friends read it and mentioned that it was told in this "future speak" a la Newspeak from 1984, which I'm not certain about. Every time I read a book like that it always seems like such a chore. On the other hand, the premise is interesting. Eh.


message 9: by Megan (new)

Megan William, Emily May!
About Feed by MT Anderson. Do not read this. Do it as an audiobook. It'll be much more enjoyable. Trust me ;)


message 10: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine Megan wrote: "William, Emily May!
About Feed by MT Anderson. Do not read this. Do it as an audiobook. It'll be much more enjoyable. Trust me ;)"


You are not the first person to suggest this because you don't have to adjust as much to the future speak and can just enjoy the story. So this may be the way to go come to think of it.

And, to be honest with myself I get it...I'm an adult. Some may argue that I'm too old. I get YA isn't made specifically for me but c'mon, I can appreciate a good story like anyone else; I wouldn't recommend most of what is coming out to my nieces and nephews because it's just bad.


message 11: by Megan (new)

Megan Jasmine wrote: "Megan wrote: "William, Emily May!
About Feed by MT Anderson. Do not read this. Do it as an audiobook. It'll be much more enjoyable. Trust me ;)"

You are not the first person to suggest this becaus..."

I totally get it. I had to take a long break from reading YA books too. After awhile they're all the same story and angst.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Thanks for taking one for the team, Emily May!

I love YA fiction and have read a lot of it, but the overall quality has suffered since everyone jumped on the YA bandwagon. Everyone thinks they can be a YA author. What's even worse than the glut of dystopian YA is the paranormal romance YA.


message 13: by Olivia (new)

Olivia I really enjoy the YA dystopian genre. I find yoyr opinion interesting... but I do agree that all new YA books are almost all Dystopian


message 14: by Alex (new)

Alex re:the overcrowded genre

I have a friend who teaches Utopian Fiction at Yale, he remarked that none of his students know how to imagine a Utopian future anymore, really. When asked to write sci-fi for the course, the students ostensibly go for a dystopian, or else rather dark, theme. The kind of sci-fi he grew up with, in the 50s, was highly Utopian-- man will use nuclear energy to power rocket ships to other worlds; will find a way to live together in peace and harmony. Today we see the exact opposite, as you remarked, but I think that it is vitally important. A new generation of writers is trying to process the immense technological advances, and the abuses latent within them. Things like NSA spying, Climate Change, among others aren't going away-- they are Titans that block our upward path.


message 15: by William (new)

William Confluence of emerging scientific breakthroughs and a relatively insular populace. Nowadays the world is so close and self-aware that there's no hiding the fact that people are terrible and horrible and will always find a way to screw good things up.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Alex wrote: "re:the overcrowded genre

I have a friend who teaches Utopian Fiction at Yale, he remarked that none of his students know how to imagine a Utopian future anymore, really. When asked to write sci-f..."


Sigh. I kind of like the old cheerful, optimistic science fiction.


Mel (Epic Reading) What on earth does this even mean?!?! " he ground out on a terrifying staccato with scary pauses". Yeesh all I needed was to see this excerpt to know it was awful, plot bad or not who wants to read writing that painful.


message 18: by Alex (new)

Alex Melissa wrote: "What on earth does this even mean?!?! " he ground out on a terrifying staccato with scary pauses". Yeesh all I needed was to see this excerpt to know it was awful, plot bad or not who wants to read..."
I am sorry? A staccato is a musical notation-- it's a note that's to be played very short and sudden. Surely you have a dictionary closeby?


message 19: by Rose (new) - added it

Rose Sorry to hear this, Emily. I keep searching for YA dystopians that are different, but I find that a lot of them are same-ish and just don't measure up to what they promise. I'm still hoping to find more that do in my searches (because I love dystopian fiction, but many of them aren't what I would call dystopian at all, just thinly veiled romances. Or teen dramas.)


message 20: by pdbkwm (new) - added it

pdbkwm Perhaps the problem isn't so much dystopian worlds, but the forced romance and/or love triangles? At least, that's my problem with them.


message 21: by Rose (new) - added it

Rose pdbkwm wrote: "Perhaps the problem isn't so much dystopian worlds, but the forced romance and/or love triangles? At least, that's my problem with them."

That's my problem too, from what I've read. So many of them have awesome setups or themes, but don't really develop them. Mostly the premises are just vehicles to get the characters in a relationship somehow. Or create a love triangle, or something in that vein.


ally  ¯\(ツ)/¯ Agree to agree!
Dystopia's are dead to me too!


message 23: by Jaz (new)

Jaz Oh dear I was really looking forward to this. The most important part of dual POVs is distinctive voices and if this doesn't have that then... :(


message 24: by Carly (new)

Carly The standard female kick-ass protagonists are really getting on my nerves.
Most of the time I've got the feeling that I somehow "know" them.


Whitley Birks Finding some level of originality is a fundamental problem for those authors

Challenge accepted.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

You are EVERYWHERE!


message 27: by Sophie (new)

Sophie So sad :( The blurb and the cover are both so compelling; I was really expecting something more original.


Emily May I know, I LOVE that cover. I knew I had to check this out as soon as I saw it... so disappointing.


Evelyn Looi You know what? I don't think Dystopian fiction is the right sub-genre for me. After reading several of Dystopian novels, i find it to be too dark and edgy. I also see too many unsympathetic characters like anti-heroes, oppressive governments, romances, etc.

Now I'm just reading Dystopian novels just for the sake of review rather than enjoyment, I can't expect anymore Dystopian novels to impress me anymore.


Evelyn Looi I'm also tired of reading YA fiction, I'm tired of teen soap operas, glamour, gossip, romances, love-triangles, Gary-Stu/Mary-Sue characters, bad-boy broodiness, etc. It's sick and tiring, just why...? I'm just going to review them , I expect very few of them to WOW me. ;-C


Isabel Naquin *SPOILERS BELOW*
I just have to say this because, as a person passionate about the things she loves, I feel like I need to stick up for The Murder Complex.
I have seen some reviews and conversations going up about The Murder Complex, and I am getting angry. FAST.
Yes, Dystopian is a very popular genre. Yes, there are many YA books that ride on the premis of dystopian where there's a bad government, female protagonist, bad guy, we need a cure, we have to kill, and all that jazz. But to say that this book is borderline typical dystopian I think is ridiculous. Dystopian may have some of the same points, but I find a very distinct difference between this book and Hunger Games, or Divergent. The plot and story itself is much darker and is different from THG & Divergent.
For a debut novel, this book was fantastic and Lindsay's characters were great and had so much depth to them. I could grasp these characters so easily and picture them so clearly in my head! She just created beautiful people and their beautiful stories.
To say the plot was not shocking is just ridiculous. Lindsay's book had so many stunning twist and turns that had me gasping and sitting there in shock. How? Why? What? I found the book intriguing, easy to follow, and very well written. Plot wise I felt like this beat Diverget. And don't hate me for saying that. But honestly at the end of Divergent, Tris and Tobias fight they get up and leave.the build up to that wasn't great either. I loved Diverget. But when I compare the end and my reaction reading Divergent to my reaction reading TMC there's a fine line.

You of course are intitled to your own opinion, but some comments are scaring people off from a fantastic read! I loved this book, and if you love THG and Divergent then you will surely love this!
<3


Evelyn Looi Isabel wrote: "*SPOILERS BELOW*
I just have to say this because, as a person passionate about the things she loves, I feel like I need to stick up for The Murder Complex.
I have seen some reviews and conversation..."


I'm sorry I hurt your feelings, it's just that I get bored REALLY fast when it comes to literature, I prefer watching videos and film instead.


message 33: by Alyssa (new) - added it

Alyssa I really love how you explained that the YA dystopian genre is a bit unoriginal and repetitive. I agree because you made some great points, but disagree being on the premise of me being a hardcore YA dystopian fan (which is a pretty bad reason of disagreement). Mainly, not point to this is to explain that I absolutely agree 100% with what you said:) *applauds you being a genius*


message 34: by Molly (new) - added it

Molly Rose I really like the two categories that you've explained new age Dystopian authors end up writing about, and I really think young and coming authors need to be aware of in order to truly make their book original.


message 35: by Anne (new)

Anne Duckstein Read margaret atwood....you'll never read anything else.... start with the madd adam series...and then the giver series...


Emily May Anne wrote: "Read margaret atwood....you'll never read anything else.... start with the madd adam series...and then the giver series..."

I read everything she writes, she's one of my favourite authors :) But Atwood didn't write the Giver series - Lois Lowry did.


message 37: by Anne (new)

Anne Duckstein Emily May wrote: "Anne wrote: "Read margaret atwood....you'll never read anything else.... start with the madd adam series...and then the giver series..."

I read everything she writes, she's one of my favourite aut..."


True that! Sorry i was meant to add in by Lois lowry...but got distracted. Lol one shouldn't
Mix work and goodreads...i love them both though! But madd addam is by far my most fav. Series in that genre!


message 38: by Tiyra (new) - rated it 1 star

Tiyra Does this sound like An Ember in the Ashes to anyone? I've been had!!


message 39: by Jordan (new) - added it

Jordan Dekleer DNF on your review. I haven't even read the book but I can't take your review seriously when you say that YA dystopias fit into only 2 categories and then immediately after you say it fits in between them. Contradicting yourself at its finest.


Emily May Jordan wrote: "DNF on your review. I haven't even read the book but I can't take your review seriously when you say that YA dystopias fit into only 2 categories and then immediately after you say it fits in betwe..."

DNF on your comment. If you can't be bothered to actually read what I said - new authors to the genre almost always produce one of two things - then I'm not going to do you that courtesy either.


Sherail Tarragon Couldn't agree more Emily, I dnf bcz Meadow was just a killing machine & I couldn't connect with her...


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