Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA Dystopia
Length: 305 Pages
Publication: November 2011
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
What was once The United States is now split into two separate societies: The eastern portion is known as the Colonies and the western portion is the Republic. In the Republic, everyone takes a trial when they are ten years old. Earning a high enough score gets you into high class jobs, receiving a low score means you're sent to a Labor Camp.
Day failed his trial and was believed dead. Instead he has spent the past five years fighting the system. June is a prodigy, the only known person to score a perfect 1500 on the Trial. When Day is believed to have murdered Metias (a young military captain and also June's brother), June is called in to track Day down. But nothing in the Republic is really what it seems. June and Day soon learn that there is more going on beneath the surface.
"Each day means a new twenty-four hours.
Each day means everything's possible again.
You live in the moment, you die in the moment,
you take it all one day at a time.
You try to walk in the light."
This is my second reading of this novel. The first time was two and a half years ago. I'm sticking with my original rating of 4/5 stars, although I enjoyed the novel even more this time around. It was much faster (surprisingly) the second time around and I found myself even more engaged with the story.
Marie Lu has a very nice, simple writing style that I have come to appreciate through her works. Her writing is good, but not over the top. There are beautiful portions throughout this novel that just made me want to cry. She really has a talent for writing emotions that readers can feel.
The characters are very well developed and easy to relate to. June and Day are both excellent characters and I have a hard time picking a favorite between the two. The story is told dual perspective from both of them and that is one thing I love about this novel. June frustrates me at times with her blind acceptance of things, but she grows throughout the novel and although still very logical allows herself to be swayed by her emotions.
Metias became one of my favorite characters this time around. Although we only get to see him living only briefly, June's memories of him really let me connect with him. I also really enjoy Day's family. There are portions throughout this novel where I just had to cry (only a little, but it did happen). I also really like Tess and Kaede. They both add their own flare to the story.
Commander Jameson and Thomas are fascinating. I won't say too much about them here, but knowing what I know about them from the later novels definitely changed my view on this second reading.
There was so much I didn't remember from my first read of this novel and so much I feel like I was able to pick up on because I already know what happens later on. I think I'm going to have to start re-reading all of my favorite series a couple of years after my initial reading.
June and Day's relationship was a little rushed (that was one of my problems my first time around), but it was never the complete focus so it wasn't too annoying. I also love them together and the way they bring out new aspects in each other. They really are like two halves of a whole in many ways. And both of them are very connected to their families and the memories of their loved ones. I think that draws them together even more because they understand the pain the other feels.
This is definitely a novel to be read if you enjoy the dystopia genre. An excellent trilogy by a talented author.
Let me know what you thought of this book!