Target Audience: Older Teens/Adults
First of all I'd like to thank Heidi for allowing me to review her book for her and for asking me to do an honest review :-)
I'll start, as usual, by giving a brief synopsis of the general story:
Sara Mendoza lives in a world where feelings and especially love is seen as an emotional fallacy and people are encouraged to have multiple partners in order to have more children. Infertility is seen as the ultimate shame, a caste system rules everyone and those who can't bear children are often encouraged to commit 'honorable suicide'. Having grown up with these beliefs Sara knows no different until she is captured and tortured and ends up caught up in events that she never could have imagined happening.
I was a bit torn about this novel and there are a few reasons why, so bear with me while I explain my reasoning for my rating.
First of all I will say that the world building and the sheer imagination that went into this is incredible. It's been a long time since I've read about such a vastly detailed and completely different world in a sci-fi novel and I was fascinated by it. However, I felt there were a lot of new terms and ideas used in a short space of time and I felt slightly overwhelmed and a bit lost whilst reading it.
I'm aware that other readers did not have this problem though, so I guess that this is more down to the individual reading it.
Secondly, because of the sheer amount of new terms, places and concepts, I found a little difficult to follow the plot at times, especially with some of the chapters jumping to a different place and focusing on a different character. It would make me stop and have to think about what had just happened and what was now happening. Having said this, it was different reading about so many unique places, people and ideas and I found myself torn between wonder and outrage at some of the things that happen throughout the novel.
Some of the concepts for example, having multiple partners, I found really weird and I don't think I could live in a world like that, I mean I'd get insanely jealous if my partner had another 3 wives. But that's what is done well in this book, because you can tell that to most of the characters this is perfectly normal and for a lot of people there are no emotions involved in that sense.
The characters themselves are incredibly vivid though my opinion on them is once again divided as I found that I'd meet a character and not see them for a while despite having learned quite a bit about them and this threw me off a little bit or a character would be mentioned lots then hardly seen.
On the other hand, the attention to character detail is fantastic and I feel like I know Sara and Sean like best friends because of how descriptive Miller is in this book.
I loved Sean and Sara, they were fantastic and one of the best duo's I've read about in a while, although I flinched at some of the things they both had to go through and felt myself disgusted at what happens to Sara part way through the novel.
As for the bad guys? Well I'm not going to spoil anything so I will just say that they're very evil and I was hard pressed to decide who I hated more; Faya or Simon as both gave new definition to the term 'bad guy' in so many different ways.
I will summarise by saying that although I had a few issues with a few areas this is a great example of sci-fi that will give anyone's imagination a run for their money. The writing quality is brilliant, characters are vivid and if you're looking for a bit of sci-fi escapism, yet still with a hint of realism and a healthy dose of romance, then most definitely give this book a read.