I have this odd thing about books with dystopian settings; they all remind me of The Hunger Games. In the first few pages, I expect a dreary picture to be drawn for me. I wait for the big scene in the town center. I just can't help myself. Needless to say, I don't read too many dystopian/post apocalyptic books.
I was so relieved when I started this debut YA novel from C.J. Redwine. Immediately, we are thrown into the action of the moment. No sissy narrative world building! You learn the world as you go along in the adventure. But don't worry, the story won't run away without you. It's a great fantasy ride that I've been missing from my bookshelves (yes, I will be purchasing this for my shelves when it is released).
I totally geeked out on the setting of this dystopian world. Basically, what happened is that so much mining was done down into the earth that beings referred to as "cursed ones" were released into the world and destroyed entire civilizations. When all but one was eradicated, walled cities went up, each with it's own leader, culture and justice. There's slightly more to it but I'll leave that to you to discover in the book. The reason why I liked this setting so much is because it reminded me of one of my favorite creep-tastic books I read in what feels like forever ago, The Descent by Jeff Long (nothing like the movie). What a creepy idea - demons in the center of the Earth!!
But this story is about Rachel's search for her father who hasn't returned from his last courier mission. Told in the first first person by both Rachel and Logan, we see both sides to the story (I personally love hearing both sides to a story). I really felt that Ms. Redwine nailed Logan's voice. I always question a female writer giving voice to a main male character. I think she nailed a typical guy's one track mind (not THAT track, if that's what you're thinking), lack of filters on the brain to mouth connections and a guy's general clueless-ness when it comes to females. Face it, guys are simple; they're just built that way.
I absolutely loved the adventure and intrigue of the story, reminding me of Robert Jordan's high fantasy series Wheel of Time. You have characters interacting, out on a quest, each with their own agendas. Add in Logan's unique abilities (I'm not telling!) and I ate it up!
There really were no major flaws to the story that I could find. Personally, I gave it a 4 star review because I felt like a whole slew of characters just got thrown in towards the end to help wrap up the story arc. I wish more time was spent "fleshing" them out. But, hey, that's a great way to get me to buy the next book :D
Thank you, Balzer + Bray, for providing a digital copy of this book for my unbiased review!