Review Detail

4.4 12
FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 10255
A Promising Premise
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
In STARTERS, a spore missile wiped out all non-vaccinated citizens and left only teenagers and the very old alive. The elderly, called Enders, run everything, and the teenagers/children, called Starters, are either claimed by an Ender family member or are condemned to a life on the streets where they run from marshalls who will commit them to institutions.

Enders have really long lives (due to technological advances that seem to have been in place before the book started), and some of them want the thrill of being young again. That's where a company called Prime Destinations comes in. Prime entices unclaimed Starters with promises of wealth and security to allow PD to implant a chip in their brains that will allow an Ender to rent their body and control it for the duration of the rental.

Callie signs up for Prime Destinations because she needs medicine and security for her sick younger brother. All goes well until the third rental when Callie's chip malfunctions, and she begins to regain sporadic control over her body again, discovering a murder plot in the process.

STARTERS has strong worldbuilding, which I love! We are immediately immersed in the dystopian world and new terms, history, and technological advancements are flawlessly woven into the narrative. It's an intriguing premise and a compelling world. The plot takes a little while to really get going, but I'm okay with a gentle escalation of tension. By the time we reach the middle of the book, it's a wild ride to the finish.

I was less enthusiastic about the character development and the plot from the middle of the book to the end. I felt like I was quickly told how Callie felt about things but was never really allowed to SEE Callie feeling those things and therefore experience it for myself. I didn't buy the romantic relationship, so when that was the motive for her actions, I had a hard time going along with it. And so many (!) things happen near the end, I got a bit confused and felt like I needed more explanation and a bit more clarity so I could believe everything.

That being said, this is a solid start to a fascinating dystopian series, and I think readers will be eager to have their questions answered in the sequel.
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