Author: Laura Williams McCaffrey
Publisher: Clarion Books
Published Date: 16th February 2016
Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Lyla lives in a bleak, controlling society where only the brightest and most favored students succeed. When she is caught buying cheats in an underground shadow market, she is tattooed—marked—as a criminal. Then she is offered redemption and she jumps at the chance . . . but it comes at a cost. Doing what is right means betraying the boy she has come to love, and, perhaps, losing even more than she thought possible. Graphic novel–style vignettes revealing the history of this world provide Lyla with guidance and clues to a possible way out of the double bind she finds herself in.
Review: When it came to this book, it did have its ups and downs for me. Let’s start with what went well.
What I liked about this novel:
– At the end of nearly every chapter, there was a graphic novel illustration. It just added a lovely dimension to the story. Although the graphic novel was to do with something over than the plot line, I could see that the feelings that Lady Captain (the main character in the graphic novel) was going through, related well to what Lyla was feeling at the time as well.
– Finally, we had a family in the novel! In a lot of YA books the parents are either dead, absent, or just conveniently never around. I’m going to be honest and say the parents weren’t around as much as I ideally would’ve liked, but they were included in the novel and added to the story. There was also a strong sister connection between Hope and Lyla which I really liked seeing. I think that made the story something I personally could enjoy all the more, because I have a sister too.
– I liked the concept of the Red Fist being a rebellion group against the Barons. Although that is the typical dystopian situation, it seems like neither group were particularly good. They were basically as bad as each other and that left Lyla wondering if there was anything she really could do to make a difference, if there was even a way to do ‘good’ in the end. That inner debate appealed to me a lot.
|General feels. Make of this what you will.
– I liked Lyla’s character. We all make mistakes sometimes, as she did, and we all want to work to make them better. That’s really what she was working after, and I could appreciate her efforts.
– It’s a tiny personal thing, but I really liked the font of the book. I liked the writing style as well. It wasn’t beautiful or anything too special, but it was straightforward and that kind of voice worked well here.
– It was a slow and steady plot. That works for some people and others not, but it did work for me.
What I wanted a little bit more of:
– I wanted a little bit more in terms of world building. I think we never really ventured too deep into it, or too deep into the world, and some things could’ve been better explained as well for my own level of understanding.
– The secondary characters weren’t too fleshed out. And some of the main ones could have been done better as well.
– We have three different names for Gill. Three! I got so confused at some points and sort of wished there was only one for each person.
– I wanted a little more from the ending. It was so open ended and not too conclusive and closing which bothered me a little. It wasn’t particularly a bad ending… I just wanted more.
Olivia’s Question: How much do you value family? Do you like family appearing in novels?