I'd heard good things about this book and decided it was about time to read it. Plus I wanted a break from some of the more slog-fest Fantasy I tend to read. I did enjoy this book but I've struggled in rating this one (once again, I wish we could do half stars on here!), so my official rating would be 3.5 stars
tells the stories of two teenagers in a dystopian future version of Los Angeles, where America has split and the two sides are at war with each other. The first main character is June Iparis. She grew up in the elite part of town with her brother Metias, and is a prodigy, set for big and bright things in the Republic's army. The other main character, Day, on the other hand, grew up in the poorer sectors, where plague continually infects the people living there. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal. They are already on different sides of the war/fence/life. But then one night, Day tries to steal some plague medicine for his family and encounters June's brother Metias and narrowly escapes. The next morning, June is told her brother is dead and Day is suspect number 1. June has to now try and hunt down the elusive Day to get revenge for her brother. But Metias' death might not be as straightforward as it seems.
I did really enjoy this book. I quite liked the world and it was really well thought out and I felt quite immersed straight away, maybe because it is very similar to our own, unlike some dystopian/future-earth literature where the world can be incredibly foreign and different. There were a lot of things though that weren't fully explained, such as the nature of the war between the Republic and the Colonies and why precisely they're fighting, although as this is just the first book in the trilogy/series I imagine more will be explained in the next books.
I did feel though that the book was very similar to some other dystopian literature etc. that I've read before, as well as other media. The overall idea was somewhat unoriginal, as were some of the plot twists - Oh my! The army is testing a plague on the poor! And then they're gonna use it as a weapon in the war! I've never heard of that one before! ... (that was sarcasm by the way). Having said that, it was still an enjoyable story and setting.
I felt a lot of the characters were somewhat flat too and a little stereotypical. Thomas and Jameson were the worst culprits in my opinion for being quite flat characters and stereotypical, with no obvious motivaition or real depth to them, and Kaede suffered from this a bit too. Metias the pure, protective older brother was kinda flat but not as bad as some of the others, but we didn't really see much of him so it's harder to judge him.
The best characters, and what really shone through in the novel for me, were June and Day themselves. They were both great characters and they had obvious depth and fairly well rounded personalities, but again I do feel like they could be a bit more polished but this might come through more in later books. What I did not like though, was the quick and fairly immediate love between the two characters. I can understand being attracted to someone straight away, but they both seemed to just fall in love with the other really quickly and it just felt rushed and a bit lazy. I just didn't get it. There was no real reason for why they loved each other. It's as if Lu just knew we knew they'd end up together and just skipped straight to it.
I also felt the pacing and the length of the different 'acts' as it were as a bit off. June spends very little time actually hunting Day and a considerable part of the book is then spent on the aftermath stuff, although there was a lot of revelatory stuff that happened then. What I would have liked to have seen more of was June spending time in the poorer sectors hunting Day, maybe spending more time with him and learning about what the poor sectors are really like and slowly falling in love with Day. It just would have made a bit more sense to me really, although it then probably would have been a longer book.
Overall though, I thought it was a pretty good book, a good start off for the series although it was fairly predictable. I'm interested to see what happens to June and Day in the next book, and would like to see the world expanded more and more time spent on character development really.