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Thursday, May 10, 2012

'Starters' by Lissa Price

Can I just start by saying this is a terrible cover? Awful design, the person looks ugly and fake, and it has pretty much nothing to do with the book. In fact, I thought this would be a robot book at first. Plus, the little phrase is unrelated to the plot. 'Survival is just the beginning.' Ugh.

So, the summary tells me that this book is set in a post-apocalypse setting. There's a girl and her younger brother (the brother being near death) hiding from authorities that will... what? Kill them? It was never clear why they were hiding.
Anyways, to get money, the girl (Callie) sells her body. No, it's not prostitution. Her body is now a rental body that rich old people can enter and live in for a bit. The organization that controls this operation is called Prime Destinations.

This is definitely a good start. The plot is creative and full of opportunities for self-reflection, nuance, and moral issues. Heck, I think this book could even go to the level of Miyazaki, if well played.

However, the book immediately (well, not immediately, I guess - more on that later) plunged into "Oh golly Prime Destinations is so evil!" There's no thought, no real conflict (plenty of angst, though) - I would classify this book more as a chick flick book than a fantasy, adventure - whatever the book portrayed itself as in the beginning. Oh yeah, there's a love triangle. Naturally, Cassie is in the middle of it - and she obviously doesn't respect herself (love triangle wise) so I find it hard to respect her.
Also, the world is poorly built. Nothing is fully explained (as I mentioned earlier), so you can't form a picture in your head. I ended up putting a stereotypical dark gray, ashy, dead city apocalypse setting in my head - which didn't entirely fit the book. Thus, coherence was lost.

Shortly after Cassie sells her body to Prime Destinations, she is immersed in multiple conspiracies, romances, and betrayals. Sure, she doesn't know who to trust - I'm okay with that. What I ablsolutely despised was that Cassie would trust one side with all her heart - be traumatized at her betrayal and move to side 2 (whom she would also trust with all her heart) - then be traumatized at being betrayed and go back to side 1 (and trust with all her heart - you get the picture). It's so cliche, so dramatic, so.... obvious. It's boring!
In the end, I hated the book, I hated the plot, I hated all the characters, and most of all I hated Cassie. Don't read this book.

I would rate this a 1. Perhaps a Sadaharu Aoki caramel macaron (see link). It's wonderful, you expect it to at the very least be a decent dessert. Instead, you get a stale and hard shell, burnt caramel, disgusting flavor... You go from excited to ready-to-vomit. There are so many better desserts to eat (or, in this case, books to read) - don't even bother picking this one up.

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