When: November 29th, 2011
Where: Putnam (Penguin)
How: For Review (BEA)
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
THE ACTION. THE ROMANCE. THE BADASS-ERY.
Marie Lu sure knows how to write some awesome characters. When you're first introduced to June, she is in trouble with her headmaster at her UNIVERSITY (this girl is fifteen, people) because she was caught scaling a building (a very tall, very dangerous SCARY building). She defends herself by saying she was practicing while everyone else is sitting on their asses. You already know that June is what i'm doing to be what I refer to from now on as BAP also known as Bad Ass Prodigy. I loved how calculating and intelligent she was, especially when it came to instances of strategy and her inner monologue when trying to find her brother's killer. But she's not the only BAP in this story, people! We have TWO PRODIGIES, because really? Who else can keep up with a genius but another genius?
And in comes Day. Day is the most wanted criminal in the republic, complete with a rap sheet of dozens of crazy missions he's done to the Republic (although his motives are questionable). Do you know what age he is? FIFTEEN! Do you know who else is fifteen? ME. And here I am, writing a blog post while fictional fifteen year olds are rebelling against their governments and getting into all sorts of shenanigans. Makes a person feel accomplished! Haha!
Alright: back to book. Day was charming and I loved reading from his perspective. The book does have a dual narrative between June and Day, and I really think it completed the story. If I had been from simply June's perspective, I don't think I would've liked Day as much as I did. But seeing his internal struggles between trying to stay alive while protecting his family from the constant plagues that are out in the slums really makes him a memorable and lovable character. He's the warm, impulsive side of the story while June is much more calculating and meticulous. They balanced each other out perfectly.
The plot was crazy as well. I loved the heavy military aspect of it and how much June was integrated in it, especially because of her brother. I wasn't very surprised when they announced the killer because I KNEW IT WAS HIM I NEVER LIKED HIM ANYWAY but I loved reading every thing unfold through June's eyes, especially since she was so blind to the flaws in her system of life. But because she is a BAP, she's quick to come back and always ready with a plan, no matter how risky it is.
And their romance doesn't overpower the story, which I also liked. It was definitely there and I liked that it happens when neither of them know who the other is, because it took out all prejudices that the other might have and they could just be themselves and get together on their own accord. It was a little fast-paced but I didn't mind because it's not some weird, total instalove. Plus, I feel like when characters are thrown into tough and scary situations for an entire book, that brings them closer together and I can accept their romance much more if they fell in love with each other quickly while in school.
Overall, an action-packed debut that I definitely recommend!