The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
That description, right? I was sold.
Let me start by saying 3 things:
- Giving bad reviews breaks my heart. So please note that while this wasn't for me, it doesn't mean it won't be for you.
- My heart is in adult thrillers/suspense, but sometimes I dive into YA for something lighter.
- I've been sorely disappointed by a lot of recent YA, so I might have been a bit hard on this one.
-- The protagonist, West, isn't entirely likable. Actions that are carried out with little to no explanation. Good internal voice, but it doesn't always match what she is doing. Little to no actual relationship with the best friend.
-- Lots of unanswered "Why's". We never find out throughout this entire book why they have to kill the alts. Vague references to riches and gold, essentially but there are absolutely no stakes. It's like The Hunger Games as far as sad brutality, but if there wasn't the protection of friends and family and fear of untimely death if they don't play the game. Society says - "Force natural selection!" and the characters all say "Sure. Seems legit."
-- Intense lack of world building. So much unanswered potential. Every single scene is missing that umph that a new world creates. You are left inferring a lot of information, which sort of stales the reading process.
-- The absolutely forced and annoying relationship with Chord that made no sense. It's almost as if the author's first editor says "Aww... but there isn't a romance," so the author post-completion just went back and threw one in. Again, no stakes here at all. They've been friends all their lives, and then suddenly a wild romance appears! I was thoroughly annoyed.
I don't know. I finished the book in one day, and the pacing is pretty good for a suspense. It's just one of those books that was just meh. There was so much potential here, and it made the whole thing worse.
Without high exceptions I'd give this maybe a 3 star.
With a description like that, I'm going to give it a 1.5.