Book Review: Lux and Lies (Whitebird Chronicles Book 1) by Meg Collett

When Wren is offered to have her cancer cured in exchange for pretending to be Sloane Lux, a famous actress whose recent death has been kept secret, on an upcoming reality show, she accepts. But when the Whitebirds, an anarchist group, starts targeting the show and the pharmaceutical company behind it, Wren finds out there's a Whitebird insider among the cast and crew of the show, and cure or no cure, she may not survive until the finale if she can't figure out who it is.

Book Review: Lux and Lies (Whitebird Chronicles Book 1) by Meg Collett | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction, dystopian, young adult
Title: Lux and Lies
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 277
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received an ecopy of this book via Xpresso Book Tours. This has not influenced my review.

I think some lists will do nicely for this one, so let’s start with the things I liked:

The characters and their interactions were realistically complex. There was Bode with his friendliness, his sweetness, his determination to get Wren to trust him, his kindness toward her (he even watched cheesy vampire movies with her and everything)… but he also left me feeling a little uneasy, and he clearly had secrets and a weird, tense dynamic with Hazen (his brother). There was Hazen, who certainly had charisma and drive, as I would expect from the CEO of a huge company, but he was a jerk, in a really believable way, and had a dark, selfish side. There was Hutton, who was bitchy and cutthroat but showed vulnerability sometimes when her mask slipped. There was Maddox, another pawn in the game who wasn’t perfect but at least somewhat believed he was doing the right thing. Even the other celebrities in the show came across as real people rather than just caricatures. Like Beau, a presidential candidate in an upcoming election who was so drunk he didn’t even know what was going on half the time but somehow still managed to function and smile for the cameras. And like Viks, who in many ways was basically a caricature with her cattiness and jealousy, but it was just her shield, and you could see that there was a broken person underneath. And like Kruz, who was a sweet boy and clearly didn’t fit in with the rest of them. And even like Foster who came across as nothing more than a skeevy, drug-addicted rockstar at first but had his own secrets and insecurities. Roman was the only one who seemed cliche with his brooding angsty-ness, but even he had another side that could be interesting to see more of. Honestly, Wren was probably the one I found least interesting, but I did admire her in some ways; she tried to do the right thing at times when I wouldn’t have blamed her for doing otherwise, but she wasn’t perfect, and she was determined to survive.

I was concerned about how anyone, especially a meek girl who grew up in poverty, would ever be able to pretend to be a celebrity, but even that came across about as realistically as I think was possible. It helped that she spent all that time learning personal things about Sloane since I think that actually would make a big difference in pretending to be someone, getting that full, rounded out picture of who they were.

The book started out slow, but I got more hooked once it got to the part about the filming. The pace was faster, there was more interaction among characters, there was more tension, and the stakes started to feel more real. By about 75% I was totally into the while behind-the-scenes reality show thing and loving all the drama, like the secrets about Foster, Hazen, and Bode that were revealed.

Knowing what I know now, all the twists and secrets, I think this book would make for an interesting reread. I’m not planning to, but the revelations bring a new dimension to a lot of scenes.

Now the things I disliked:

I was expecting a faster pace and more sci-fi. It was slow-paced for the first half or so, and the sci-fi aspects were mainly a slightly different dystopian future, holograms, and some medical advances (although, to be honest, I’m not even sure exactly what kind of sci-fi I was expecting).

The book pushed my suspension of disbelief for some things. The medical tube that could completely change how someone looked. The fact that Hazen and Bode brought Wren so deep into their inner circle and asked her to help figure out who the Whitebird insider was even though she was just a random girl. That the Whitebirds plans would’ve worked so perfectly and that they would’ve even had all the technology necessary. Pretty much everything revealed at the end. *SPOILER* (The Hutton thing. Mak’s involvement—especially since that means she was must’ve been ok with the plan.) *END SPOILER*

So overall, I think the positives outweighed the negatives, I liked the complex characters and interactions, and I got more into the book as it went along!


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  1. Greg

    This is different. I thought maybe it was cyberpunk when I saw the cover. Which I like BTW. It has that futuristic look? Bummer it wasn’t more SF-ish. It does seem to have a lot of characters (and they sound complex, too). The bit about the drug that may kill more people than it saves- that sounds kind of interesting. Glad it mostly worked.

    Between the corporation and the anarchists it sounds like she’s caught between two bad options, which sounds fun.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Actually, as I was typing the thing about not being sure what type of sci-fi I was expecting, I was thinking that I had prob been expecting a more futuristic cyberpunk feel. So yeah, I’m glad I’m not the only one who got that vibe. But yeah, I liked the complex characters and the dystopian world with the pharma company and everything did seem a bit on the scarily realistic side lol. And yep, she’s definitely caught between two bad options!

  2. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    Oh – I saw this one on Xpresso and I was interested but I didn’t want to add to my reading responsibilities!

    From the blurb and the cover I would have thought it would have pushed the scifi more as well… I don’t know why?

    I’m glad it mostly worked but I’m sorry the pacing felt off. 🙁

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel you about not wanting more reading responsibilities. I thought this would be a nice fast-paced kinda book, and I needed some of those. So I guess that’s why the pace and not-a-lot-of-sci-fi things bothered me. Still a pretty good book though!

  3. Uma @ Books.Bags.Burgers.

    I’m glad you have positive things to say about the book even though it had it’s negatives! The blurb is quite intriguing and I’m glad even the slightly unrealistic parts were done as realistically as possible! And I did feel it was sci-fi too from the blurb!

    Great review Kristen 🙂

  4. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Sounds interesting and weird and a little confusing. To be honest, the premise of someone pretending to be someone else reminds me of Wolf by Wolf and by the sounds of it in that book it’s integrated better than here. If you have to suspend your disbelief about her being able to play that role and being included as she was in things then there is an issue. I mean, as you said, you obviously liked far more than you disliked but I don’t know if I could do the same. I don’t know, I suppose when you’re reading the book rather than reading about the book you get a different impression and I’d probably feel different if I read but I don’t think I’m interested enough to give the book a shot. It does sound cool, though, I’m just feeling a bit over dystopian YA.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Actually I found the pretending to be someone else part surprisingly believable. It was the way Hazen and Bode—who knew who she really was because they were the ones who made the deal with her—asked her to help figure out the mystery. At first, Hazen just wanted her to report back to him on anything suspicious, but then it turned into her spending hours with Bode every night, going through info, checking into suspects, etc., and that seemed a bit weird that she’d be trusted with that much info. But yeah, I think I’m a little over YA dystopian which is why I probably won’t continue the series.

  5. Lily

    I guess if it’s sci-fi the medical tube wouldn’t be too unbelievable XD i’d just chuck it up to the fact that it is out of this world and fake
    The characters sound pretty complex

  6. Lampshade Reader

    This one sounds really cool! You would think there would have been more sci-fi, sorry there wasn’t. I’m definitely putting this on my shelf. Great review! ~Aleen

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was pretty unique in some ways, and I had fun with the second half! But yeah, ok, I’m glad I’m not crazy for thinking it would be more sci-fi lol. Except, who knows, maybe other people do consider it more sci-fi than I did if that makes any sense.

  7. Wattle

    This sounds interesting, I like stories where others pretend to be someone else, mainly just to see how long they can get away with it haha. I’m glad that part came across as realistic, even if other bits didn’t 🙂

    I’m so over dystopia as a genre though, which is a bummer, because there’s some great books out there.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Idk if I had read a story where someone pretended to be someone else before this one. But yeah, I was surprised that it actually seemed believable!

      For me it depends on the book and how kind of “typical” the dystopian story feels. I think some out there are still unique and different.

  8. Olivia Roach

    It sounds like even though there are some elements to this book which would feel far fetched to some, somehow the author writes it in a way which makes it seem possible in a realistic way. I also like the sound of realistic characters that are complex. For me, those are the best kind.