On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life.
Except he’s not.
1.5 Stars (Rounded to 2)
I went into the book with trepidation. It is very much a marmite book – everyone loves it or hates it. I have to say now that I hate marmite, and I hated this book as well.
Before I started this book, I read the free sample on my kindle. This sample (or, the first chapter) was actually rather good. It was fast paced, slightly tense and exactly how I was expecting a YA dystopian to be. Upon buying the book and reading past the sample, I have to say that I can see why I should’ve left it where I was. The second that the sample finished, the pace dropped considerably. Nothing really happened, I was not drawn in to the plot and Cassia, the main character, went vastly downhill.
Firstly, I have to say that Cassia was the most aggravating female protagonist since Tris Prior for me. She acted like she was truly the most important person in the world, like she should truly be seen as the saviour who is going to change the world. Given that she is the protagonist in a dystopian, she probably will do something to this effect, but from an in-the-novel perspective, she is a completely insignificant person in the world, who just happened to raise questions which I am sure she was not the first person to ever do. The fact that she truly believes in her own specialness is one of the most annoying traits a character can possess. Cassia is also incapable of making a measured and well thought-out decision. She makes blunder after blunder which puts family and friends at risk, and yet she never learns, instead putting more and more on the line. The thing that annoys me most about her is her treatment of Xander. He is her long-time best friend and thinks the absolute world of her, and she is nothing short of cruel to him. She is actually really rather nasty about him as if he is doing something wrong, when all he ever does is look out for her, which is more than can be said about the too-big-for-his-boots Ky. *SPOILERS* I thought from the beginning that this story would be great if she was paired with a seemingly brilliant guy, but was actually in love with her best friend, but no. She is paired with the best friend, who she has a lot of chemistry with and who is a good and likeable person, yet she falls for a dull, annoying guy who springs from the woodwork under the façade that she actually knew him the whole time and never mentioned him before he was a necessary part of the plot, then shoeing him in as important in a role that he did not naturally fit. Also, Cassia and Ky did not fit well at all in my opinion, and it got to the stage where it took me two weeks to get through one particularly unbearable scene with the two of them proclaiming their undying love and being sickeningly “couple-y”. *SPOILERS END*
The plot was very difficult to get through. It had all the clichés of a dystopian with no originality at all. I could swear that I have encountered every aspect of this book at some point before. I know that nothing is original anymore but I genuinely could not see much original about this book. The good aspects the plot, such as elements surrounding her grandfather (which were admittedly rather good) were very few and far between, and I had to force myself to finish this, as I just found it to be less of a solid dystopian novel and more of a teenage love/angst fest in a typical dystopian setting. It was unbearable for me.
The whole storyline with the pills seems so blatantly obvious to me. I guessed every plot aspect surrounding them, and I was so certain that I knew things that were coming in the next two books that I browsed the internet to check my suspicions, which served to confirm what I already knew. I had no intention of continuing on, especially as I have heard – even from people who enjoyed this book – that it only gets worse and worse, but now that I know exactly how predictable this series was serving to be, I have zero interest, and doubt that I will ever pick up the next two instalments. And even though Condie’s new book ‘Atlantia’ looks rather interesting, I am treading very carefully where the author is concerned now. I definitely would not recommend this book to anyone.