When I finished this book I told myself that I had loved it, but as I sat down to compose the review I found myself finding more negatives than positives, with most of the issues coming down to the style of the writing itself.
In this dystopian read, the Spore Wars have drastically upset the social structure. Set in California in the not too distant future, disease has wiped out all adults, leaving only young people (Starters) and the elderly (Enders) remaining.
With no surviving relatives, Callie is forced to squat illegally and scrounge for food to keep herself and her younger brother, Tyler, alive. After hearing of Prime Destinations, an illegal company which allows Enders to rent the bodies of Starters, Callie decides to volunteer. After all, the reward is a massive sum of cash which would spell the end of the dire circumstances she is currently in. But when it becomes clear that the Ender renting her body is planning murder, Callie is forced to get involved.
The Good – Callie carries this book completely – she is the only character developed to full potential. The actual premise of the book is pretty unique (although, I think extreme makeovers are becoming far too common in dystopian fiction. Yes, I know that we are a society which longs for perfection, but it’s getting to be overkill). I really enjoyed the interaction between Callie and Helena in the second half of the book, and I think the twist at the end was a smart move, I definitely want to read the sequel!
The Bad – The cover didn’t really appeal to me, although the choice is explained within the narrative. My main issue was the actual writing skill presented within the text. There was way too much telling and not enough showing. A lot of the points the author wanted to convey were revealed through dialogue, which is fine, but it was all too convenient. It was hard to get lost in the story; much of the book seemed to be useless filler. Far too much ‘maybe this, maybe that…’ – things were spelled out too much. Characterisation could be improved, as well. The relationship between Michael and Callie, and Callie and Blake, both seemed a little vague and unconvincing. Still, I kept turning the pages and the pace was great, overall, a good debut novel from Price.