I received a copy from the author personally in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Released: June, 2014
I am alone in a decaying world, abandoned by the man who stole my memories, yet claimed to love me.
I will journey through the darkest parts of the old world, facing horror and death along the way. A soldier will save me, bringing me to the great walled city of Veracity. I am drawn to him, but he harbors secrets that will change my life.
Relearning the strict rules of the world I was born into will be the easy part. Figuring out I'm more than just a pawn, in a game I can't remember, will be a matter of life and death.
What I like: This story is very compelling, with much of its careful worldbuilding revealed later in the story with small hints at the beginning at what kind of world we have been dropped into. With an unconventional opening to the story with our main character Katherine having no previous memories of the world she had been raised in and a strange man named Jack who has wiped her memories. A strange way to start the story, and some can say an easy way into introducing the worldbuilding, but nevertheless it was very interesting to read and see how everything was built up. The rules we learn about this new society make for an interesting discussion, especially on the morality of some of the things you learn in the later part of the second half of the book. I thought the color coding of the different social classes was neat, and in a way threw back to old world society where certain colors were only wore by people of certain social standings, such as how purple was reserved specifically for the royal family in certain countries. Kat's brother was also interesting to meet, but it was rather quickly established that he's probably crazy and drunk with power considering he declares himself King of the Seven Cities all because his father called him and his sister his prince and princess. Felt like more of a plot device and I wasn't allowed to decide if I was going to like his character since it was shoved onto the reader so quickly, which was something I did not like in the least.
What I didn’t like: The history to how the society came about seemed a bit rushed, despite the impact its apparently had on the entire population of Earth and how few people there seem to be. It just felt glossed over and I felt it could have been expanded upon for a greater effect on those who read it, because it seemed really insignificant. Also, the whole generations thing bothered me because I think it mentioned there were at least six generations between Kat's generation (or maybe it was Max's generation? If it's Max's generation, add two more generations to get to Kat's bringing it up to at least eight generations) and the generation when the Cleanse happened. A generation is anywhere between 20 and 25 years long. Taking that into account and we use the six generations and twenty years thing the Cleanse happened over one hundred and twenty years ago. At the most using the eight generations and twenty-five year thing the Cleanse happened over two hundred years ago. Now, why am I bothered by this? The abandoned buildings Kat finds throughout the first part of the book. They should be gone, rotted, nothing should remain of those buildings, not unless someone took the time to keep them in a half-way respectable state. I doubt this though. This is a huge flaw to me because I was thinking that the world as we know it hadn't ended too long ago, at least in Kat's grandparents time things were like we know it until we learn the history from Max. I will cite Chernobyl because that happened in the late eighties, not even forty years ago and the land that was abandoned by many people has already overgrown with vegetation and humanities presence has disappeared rather rapidly. It was a glaring error and it bothers me greatly and had a huge impact on the scoring for the book. A bit of an end to tack on, Grayson's dad at the end? Like, that just seemed really out of characteristic for his dad from everything we had seen thus far. It didn't make sense in the slightest to me really.
Overall review: Despite some rather obvious (to me) flaws and some things that seemed out of characteristic and a few decisions that I wanted to make taken away from me I thought it was a rather enjoyable read. The interesting worldbuilding, the new social rules, and even the dressing customs were interesting. While it did take me a while to get through it was rather hard to put down when I had to and easy to pick back up when I got my next chance to read it. The characters were well rounded in most areas that I looked for and their motivations for the most part made sense when their actions were made. Although while I was originally rooting for that Jack character to rescue her later on when we meet him again I found that I didn't like how he acts towards her. It struck me as really odd. Nevertheless, I will definitely look into reading the rest of the series if given the chance to. The romance is sort of also a big focus in this book once she reaches Veracity, but it's not overwhelming usually which I liked. She also wasn't liked by everyone but those who didn't like her didn't have happy ends it seems. Not sure how to feel about that really.
Recommend?: I would, because it was an interesting sci-fi story, one of the more interesting ones I've read but it could do with some improvements like any story can.
My Rating: 4.2/5