I read this book in less than three days, which is unusual. I like to take my time with a book and balance it with two or three others of different genres, but I couldn’t peel my eyes away from this one. It is 500-pages long, but I didn’t realize how they flew by and the book was over. It’s a dystopian but that doesn’t come close to describing the extent of this book. It’s got a little bit of everything: action, suspense, drama, and romance. More importantly, it is an adventure and an amazing one at that.
It’s slow going at first, but once you get used to the present tense style and crude, broken words, the language used makes it seem more authentic. The author succeeds in keeping it consistent too, which is difficult when you’re trying to change the narration style. That’s one of the most striking parts of the book.
Here's an alternate cover
As for characters, I actually didn’t like Saba all that much. She is close-minded, hostile and cruel. The way she treats Jake and her little sister, Emmi is heart-wrenching. It’s one thing to be emotionally stunted and another to knowingly cause pain. Jake is exactly the opposite - fun-loving, resilient and quite open with his emotions, he’s the perfect guy, but sometimes he took it a little too far. It made him seem a tad unrealistic. Guys don’t show that much emotion and no sane creature would put themselves out only to be crushed-again and again.Emmi is definitely my favorite character. She has all the best qualities of Saba - loyal, brave and gutsy, without the emotional baggage(lessness). Epona, Ash, Ike and Tommo are well-formed supporting characters with critical roles. I wish I could have explored their backgrounds further...maybe in another book.
Speaking of which, did you know that this is the first of a series? Name’s Dustlands. I was overjoyed when I found out. I can’t wait to go on another ride with Saba, Jake, Lugh, Emmi and others. Another fun fact: this book is also being made into a movie (film rights by Ridley Scott) and I believe it will be released in 2014? Hurray!
Overall, an epic book with a masterfully created world, gripping plot and characters you’ll love. This is the perfect book to fill the Hunger Games void.
Recommended for: Fans of The Hunger Games and Enclave (Ann Aguirre)