This is such a difficult book to rate!
I have to admit, there is a lot to like in it, but it just left me with a general "meh" feeling.
- Good characters - I honestly liked all the main characters (that's rare!), they were interesting and likeable.
- Awesome idea for a plot.
- Pretty good pacing.
- I just couldn’t connect with anyone. Correction, I could connect with Aria when she was with Paisley, their relationship felt real, their friendship – the little we could see of it – actually got to me. Other than that? Flat. I felt nothing about her relationship with her mother, there was so little to it and I didn’t feel any urgency in getting to her, oh the book told me there was, but I didn’t feel it. I felt very little about her relationship with Roar, nothing about her relationship with Cinder and practically nothing about her relationship with Perry. It’s not that I couldn’t see the romance developing, or even that I was put off by it, because I wanted her to be with someone else (I didn’t), I just didn’t care. It was like, “Oh, they’re together. Okay.” That rendered thing felt too convenient, btw, and other than that, I mean… what did they have to like about each other? Where was the chemistry? Was it the violets? Hard to get attached to a relationship when they’re both thinking “this is just a one time thing” in the first place.
- The dialogue – it was pretty basic. That’s not necessarily a problem, because a good book will give you clues about how the characters are feeling, the depth of their emotions, what they’re not saying – I think the problem here is that Perry’s gift turned this necessary “tell not show” into a tell all the time. Don’t tell me she’s feeling curious because she smells like mint, that’s cute, but I can’t connect with that.
And there was no moment where I went, “Oh, that’s clever!” Over what somebody said. Not one.
- The worldbuilding – We’re dropped into the plot and we feel lost and confused, What is happening? Who are these people? Where are these people? WHAT?!
The whole book feels like fantasy. I wouldn’t call this a dystopia, or even post-apocalyptic because there is so little worldbuilding, there is no connection to what the world was before and what was lost. Apart from rust in the pods and stone dwellings or victorian dwellings (humm…) outside we don’t get much in the way of description. That’s vital if you’re writing a book in this genre. Especially when the dialogue isn't making up for it.
I sound all Debbie Downer over this, but it’s not a bad book! It was okay, it was! That’s just it, though, it was okay.