The future world has been divided into sectors--each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors' thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what's coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future. Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she'll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.
They says be careful what you wish for, and I can't help feeling that saying applies to this book for me. So many times with Dystopian trilogies I've found myself thinking that things should have been condensed down into two books rather than dragging everything out. So when I saw that this was a dystopian standalone, I was admittedly excited to get my fix from this genre all in one setting without cliffhangers to worry about. Unfortunately, I think the book would have largely benefited by being stretched out into two books. Everything was so rushed along in order to keep it all in one book that I felt like only half of a story was being told and there were pieces missing everywhere. Nothing frustrates me more than when things aren't fully developed. So much happens in this book, yet I wasn't "involved" with any of it because it's just one thing to the next. There's no real substance behind it, which left me feeling less than satisfied. It's ironic because the short length of the book was what crippled it the most, but in the end was the biggest thing it had going for it, because if it had been any longer and kept up the same way, I doubt I would have continued reading past the first few chapters. But as it was, I knew that the book was short and a stand alone, so I might as well continue on hoping for it to turn around. Unfortunately it never did.
So as I said, things are all over the place and the plot is just one thing to the next, and frankly leaves a lot to be desired in the logic area. I mean if you really wanted to exterminate all of these communities why would you give so much notice. It makes no sense to me. Why not just grab out who you want to "save" and then get on with your awful plot. Sure, they played it off like they wanted to see how everyone behaved after this news to see if they were worthy, but honestly they've been told they will be brutally murdered by machines, I think a little crazy reaction is more than warranted even in the best of people. So there was a pretty big disconnect from the start there, but I was hoping once we got to the big reveal, it would all of a sudden make sense, but unfortunately that didn't happen and wound up feeling like a cookie cutter "bad guy" speech. Speaking of cookie cutter, that's a very apt description for Sia. I quite frankly can't think of one remarkable thing to say about her. Again, a lot of this goes back to the short length of the book which just didn't allow for much development in any area, but not being able to connect with the narrator is probably the biggest book killer for me.
As I'm reading back over this review I can't help feeling a bit sad. I wanted to like this book for so many reasons but it just wasn't meant to be I guess. Perhaps this one will appeal more to others, but for me, it's a pass.
(Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss)