ARC kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley.
Actual review would be 3.5 / 5
I really don’t know why so many reviews seem to have a problem with the four narrative voices or flashbacks that the author uses in both books. I think the ‘voices’ are individual enough to tell apart from each other and even if they’re not, each chapter is titled with the character’s name! If this isn’t a big enough clue for you then maybe you should be reading books about dogs named Spot or something. There’s plenty of other things to complain about in these books anyway…
I love the background ideas that the books are based on – the failing station colony, the intrepid survivors on Earth, and their struggle to survive a planet that doesn’t want them and the mysterious and deadly Earthborn – all great premises that promise danger, plot twists and pages full of action.
Don’t get me wrong, when I read YA fiction I expect the romantic plot and even the dreaded ‘ love-triangle ‘ but I don’t expect the romance to completely eclipse the story! I quite enjoyed reading about Bellamy and Clarke and I think that they make a good couple – Bellamy being an infinitely better suitor than the murderous half wit Wells (despite the impression that we’re supposed to find Wells to be the most moral do-gooder!). I think the reason I prefer this couple is because they’re the only ones who actually stop thinking with their
genitals hearts when the situation changes as opposed to Glass and Luke who, when faced with the prospect of starvation and oxygen deprivation on a centuries old decrepit tin can in space, barricade themselves in, throw on a suit, light some candles and break out the fine china to eat their protein paste from! (This by the way is one of three clumsy ways that the author tries to evoke the famous scenes from Titanic where people dress up for dinner and music from the string quartet as the ship sinks.)
In another Dystopian tale we would at this point have seen the descent of humanity as resources and time ran out. We would have seen theft, murder, the collapse of society and a merciless struggle to survive. In this book we saw 2 teens who wouldn’t get out of bed. Then broke up over a horrible tale of deceit leading to someone’s wrongful death that was then all sorted a couple of pages later!
Same goes for down on the planet – where you’d expect to see anarchy and the formation of gangs trying to grasp all the resources or alternatively, everyone coming together to face an unknown foe in the surrounding forest you saw a bunch of nearly a hundred teens settle in their beds while just one of them went hunting to feed them all and another (who they didn’t even trust most of the time) stood guard!
This review is a bit negative and to be fair there are a lot of negatives to the writing, by far the biggest being the missed opportunities for dramatic writing and what little there is being mere background noise to the romantic plot. That said, the world building has improved since book one and I am looking forward to the next book and continuation of the cliffhangers about the Earthborn, Clarke’s parents and the incoming dropships.
I fervently hope that the author takes her time over the next volume, decides to write a longer, more involving volume and places the sci-fi plot firmly ahead in importance to the romantic plot as it deserves. Then this could be a truly ‘must read’ sequence of books.