Published by: Margaret K. McElderry
Date Published: November 15, 2011
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.
Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.
First things first. The cover. OMG. I LOVE IT. SO PRETTY. It seriously looks like a picture Vania would take, and by the way I LOVE HER PHOTOGRAPHY SO HARD.
Anyway, so I got this book on GalleyGrab and started reading it. I had a lot of friends who really loved this book so I was a little surprised when at 20 pages in, I was having a hard time getting into it. But I drudged on and eventually got into it, mostly the concept - which is WICKED COOL. And I kept on reading, definitely not in a state of “OMG THIS IS SO GOOD, CAN’T PUT DOWN” but more like “okay, I’m into this enough and am waiting to see where this is going”. And I waited. And waited. And waited.
While I waited there were some cute boy moments (MAX!!), some minor intrigue, etc. and then FINALLY around page 200 I thought “okay, sweet! Conflict time!” and then it sped up. It ended with (don’t worry - no spoilers here ever!) a “wait, really? No, really?”. Not a cliffhanger per se, just kind of like “oh... okay, I guess so.” I knew this is the first part of a series so I think I was expecting more of a cliffhanger. It seemed wrapped up almost a little too nicely. I expected more death, I mean it’s supposed to be a dystopian, right?
And on that note, this is just about the lightest dystopian I’ve ever read. Yes, there is a strict caste system and some rebellions and a psychotic queen who hates men and makes you pledge your loyalty daily. But life doesn’t seem too bad, really. Even the different languages thing is something that doesn’t seem too far from our world. Not that a light dystopia is bad! If you’re someone like me who doesn’t read a lot of dystopias, it’s perfect really!
Now on to things I liked! I really, really liked the Max and Xander dynamic. I’ll keep this cryptic because this is past the 200 page thing and I don’t want to spoil. Also, I really loved Angelina. For a four year old girl who doesn’t talk, she’s a pretty awesome character, with a pretty awesome ability (not spoiling!)
So, will I read sequel? For sure! I just hope it cuts into action a little faster and I am definitely curious to see where it goes from here. I hope that this nicely wrapped ending will be EXPLODED in the first few pages. (Yes, I like characters to be tortured a little.)