3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads
This one was quite hard to rate and review. It’s been pretty popular amongst my Goodreads friends – more so than I imagined in fact. And whilst I enjoyed it, helped along by Oliver’s fluid writing style, it was just so predictable.
Please bear in mind that from here on until the next bold text, the review will contain spoilers.
Maybe this isn’t going to be so much a review as a commentary on the state of YA fiction. Lena is a ‘plain’, average girl in this dystopian world. So from the get go, she’s already a sort of Mary Sue – in fact I don’t remember any description of her appearance apart from her eyes being muddy brown. And of course, her best friend is a super beautiful blonde goddess. As soon as the fact that Lena was terrified of the idea of love was introduced, I knew she would end up falling for someone. And as soon as Alex made his first appearance in the lab, it was obviously going to be him.
There were so many predictable elements to the story that crop up far too often in YA fiction. Of course, this being a book where the main theme is love (even though love is illegal), I suppose it was hard to avoid some of the typical YA features since they more often than not involve romance.
But it has to be said, that Oliver also manages to throw in a few not so predictable elements, particularly in the last third of so of the book. I was not expecting that ending, so kudos to her for that!
One thing that was definitely lacking was the reasoning behind why people were so scared of the ‘disease’. Why was there all this sudden paranoia over the side effects? When did people decide that love was a disease and not just a natural state? Perhaps this is expanded on in the next book but it really would have been good in this one.
The whole idea with love being a disease was an interesting one though. The book had a definite ‘Big Brother’ feel to it, with citizens frequently being monitored, anyone suspected of being in love taken away to be ‘cured’ or locked up.
Whilst I enjoyed this book overall, I won’t go out of my way to read the second book but if I spot it in the library I’ll probably check it out.