June is a prodigy being groomed for success by the Republic. In contrast, Day is the most wanted criminal, mainly because he is hard to find. When June’s brother is killed by a thrown knife, she is all too eager to avenge his death through catching the prime suspect–Day. Traveling into the slums of the Republic, she runs across Day, discovering him to be very different from the “most wanted criminal”. As she works to capture Day and turn him in to the Republic, Day fights to save his family. Together, they both begin to understand all of the secrets of the Republic and the lies of their lives.
I feel like this was a sort of “meh” book for me, which is disappointing based on all of the hype surrounding it. Halfway through, I stopped to read two other books with a friend before finishing, and if that doesn’t say a lot about what I feel for the book, I don’t know what does! There were two automatic turnoffs for me as soon as I opened the book. 1) the yellow type…because ew 2) the over-used corrupt government plot. Hmm…let’s list all of the books I have read like that: Uglies, Shatter Me, Hunger Games, Delirium, Matched, The Red Queen, Eve, An Ember in the Ashes…*pauses to survey bookshelf* I probably forgot one or two. What’s with authors always writing about citizens rebelling against the government? I don’t know if it’s just me, but at this point I automatically assume any book I read will have a corrupt government. Someone please write about a good government–this is depressing, haha!
The character development was what really pulled me in. Everything about the government was obvious and easy to predict, like no, really?! The government did THAT? No kidding! However, there were many twists and turns for June and Day, weaving together their past years into the present and revealing how they each came into their positions–one of them the most wanted criminal, the other a prodigy. Since there were split points of view, I could see each one’s thoughts and exactly how they were being manipulated by the government. As well, I saw June evolving, especially as her eyes were opened to everything around her. In the beginning, her friend is described as caring and supportive, but once she gets pulled deeper into the conflicts of the Rupublic, June discovers that her friend is completely different than how he appears to her.
Although I have complained about the overused corrupt government concept, I did find that it was incredibly well-written and woven together well. It showed how the way a child is raised can completely change their views and harden them into an unfeeling killer. The Republic would only take the strongest of the children, making them take the Trials to decide their physical and mental strengths. The ones who failed would be thrown out, since they were not beneficial, while the strongest were groomed to the Republic’s needs. An example of a groomed child is Thomas, who June and her brother were friends with. Around June, Thomas was a perfect gentleman who cared about those around him, but as a soldier, he was unfeeling and devoted to the Republic. That sort of loyalty can only be created by lots of beliefs being forced on him, similar to the way Hitler put children into Hitler’s Youth to completely turn them to his beliefs. In contrast to the children who were deemed beneficial, the rejects became rebellious and saw through the government’s lies since they were not blinded.
Overall, my feeling for this series is intrigued. I am not excited or looking forward to reading the next book, but rather want to read it out of curiosity of the way the series is headed. I feel that I will like the other books more, since the story will have more time to grow, rather than set a foundation.