My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Author: Marie Lu
Format: Hardcover (own)
Categories: Dystopia, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
In a world broken by war, a team of young warriors is willing to sacrifice everything to save what they love.
The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.
The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.
Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.
Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs.
When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?
- Aesthetics ~ check out that cover, it looks simple, but oh the colors and that font. 😍😭Then if you had the hardcover edition like I do, the title is sprayed against the pages…and then….and THEN when you take off the jacket, you get more of that purple pink title and that title in that font again. I think it’s right now my favorite cover of 2020 and I didn’t think it would be at first glance.
- World Building ~ Marie Lu knows how to build a fictional world. This story is set in a dystopian world, Mara is the last area standing against the Karensa Federation who wants to take over every inch of land in their country. This story is set way after our current civilization. There are ruins of our cities made of steel and people have learned to use the materials they found to survive. There are evolved humans, more like humans that were experimented on, that turned them into killing creatures called Ghosts. So the sci-fi aspect is very present in this story.
- Characters ~ interesting and diverse characters. My favorite so far is Jeran, one of Talin’s friends. Talin is a solid main character – she’s strong and we shall see what happens in the next book.
- Writing ~ engaging from the start. The story is intense with lots of action, and characters dealing with their own personal traumas. There is a great message of being brave and strong no matter what life throws at you.
- As engaging as the writing is, the middle of the book started to lose my attention. I might have been expecting more from the story or maybe I wanted it to go deeper. Maybe I wanted more romance and I got some of it with Jeran’s storyline at least, yay! I can’t pinpoint it just yet, maybe it was too predictable? Was I not connecting to any of the characters? But I started to get bored, until the last few pages happened, which was a total cliffhanger.
- I had a lot of questions that weren’t answered and maybe will be answered in book two – but the whole mind link thing between Red and Talin, why did it happen so quickly?
- Triggers: violence, killing, experiments on humans, abuse, grief, trauma
The physical book is gorgeous, the writing is wonderful but I might have been expecting more because it’s a Marie Lu book. As a dystopian, sci-fi novel I think it has a lot of action and the ending makes you want to read the next book. I think I’m looking for more of a connection to the characters but maybe that will happen in book two when we find out what happens next to Talin and Red.
💕 ~ Yolanda