I didn’t go into this book expecting some hardcore, intense, dark, emotional journey into the depths of broken characters’ minds. Even though that actually would be my preference, I tried giving the book a fair chance. I didn’t want to declare it bad just because it didn’t fit my mold. All the same, I still didn’t expect to like the book and was surprised to find that I actually did.
The writing was decent and easy to read. The plot was a little slow-paced but not boring. The characters were likeable. I also really don’t care if the books I read are politically/scientifically accurate as long as the story itself makes sense, so I had no issue with the backstory/politics the way some readers did. The story was good for what it was–light and fluffy YA. It really was The Bachelor in YA dystopian book form. And I suppose my mood going into the book was the right one since I’ve read about so much death and violence lately that I needed a break from it.
The best thing for me though was America. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about people not liking her, but I loved her (not so much in the last book, but this review isn’t about that one). I felt like I was reading about myself half the time because she was just like me in so many ways and so relatable. She was down-to-earth, bluntly honest, never pushy, understanding, and someone who stood up for herself and her feelings. I think sometimes people have expectations that are too high for teenage characters. I think sometimes people also forget that having emotions doesn’t make a person weak, and not wanting to rush into a relationship and being honest about that doesn’t make a person selfish.
But then the book had to go and ruin everything by ending before anything really happened. This was NOT a complete story. And honestly, I’m getting tired of this because it seems to be some sort of trend to spread one single story out into a trilogy rather than write three full stories that connect to each other. A story is supposed to have rising action, a climax, and falling action. And it’s supposed to have a goal that is either accomplished or failed by the end. I cannot in good conscience give a book a good rating if it lacks these things.
As for the love triangle… I held out my judgment until I finished the story and didn’t factor that into the rating of this one (though there’s a whole spiel about it in my review of the third book if you’re interested in knowing my thoughts).
Overall, this is a dystopian that’s far more about romance than violence. It’s not something I’d normally recommend for anyone who has taste similar to mine, but it’s enjoyable for an easy, light read if that’s what you like and if you don’t have an issue with the whole one-story-split-into-three-parts thing.