Tuesday, January 21, 2014
ARC Review: Uninvited
Scheduled to release January 28
Source: Received an e-ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Sophie Jordan came on to my radar through her Firelight trilogy, which gave me utterly addictive writing, a fascinating dragon premise, and a swoonworthy boy named Will. So obviously I was going to be interested when I heard she had a new YA series coming soon.
At its heart is a simple premise: a kill gene has been discovered (formally known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)) and a test is being implemented to identify who has it in their genes. A panicked populace encourages the using of this test and soon groups are being culled from the general population as the government struggles to maintain control in cities where outraged "killers" take over.
Davy seems to be the golden girl, destined for a beautiful life of music until she is identified as possessing the kill gene and her life is radically upturned as she is sent to a public school with other "killers." Some certainly seem to fit the profile, threatening to rape and/or kill Davy on first meeting while others seem more nebbish. The first half of the book deals with Davy and her family processing (or refusing to process) this information and adjusting to the new reality. Hints of the larger world indicate that the situation is escalating, which is further reinforced by snippets of interviews, government orders, etc. that are interspersed throughout the chapters.
In the second half Davy, love interest Sean (who has his own intimidation factor) and dweeby Gil are among a select group chosen to attend a government training facility where their presumed predilection for killing will be encouraged provided it falls in line with what the leaders want. This second half ends more with a whimper than a bang, setting us up for plenty of excitement in the second book of this two-book series but not leaving me panting with suspense in the interim.
I seem to really click with Jordan's writing so it is no surprise that I read through this pretty quickly. Her background is in romance so while I wasn't initially on board with Sean as love interest (being a reader who likes nice men and skips over the intimidating bad boy), he won me over as their romance deepened. Davy is a nice enough girl, one raised with a privileged life in the suburbs that has kept her away from the worst criminal element but also one in possession of deep reserves that give her strength when everything she has ever known is ripped away from her. I would have liked to have seen more of her brother Mitchell, the only family member who doesn't recoil upon her diagnosis and who would probably like to be a part of a resistance in the second book.
For a very thoughtful review discussing some of this book's shortcomings, check out Ivy Book Bindings. Keertana brought up some excellent points about world-building that I had completely blipped over through my connection to the writing.