by Allie Condie
–review by Bronto Incognito
“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.”
Book-a-likes: all other dystopians? Just kidding. Um…Forest of Hands and Teeth (restricted society) by Carrie Ryan, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Delirium by Lauren Oliver.
This book was selected by my girls at church as part of our summer book club reading. It’s so good it even got one of my non-readers to make it through THE ENTIRE BOOK and read through the second one!!!
Heck, even the adults that participated liked it.
First time I read through this I gave it 4 stars. Reread turned it into 5.
I think the first time it just felt too similar to other things, plus I wasn’t convinced on this whole love triangle business (I know, I know, but go with me here for a minute…)
Many things that suck out to me more on a reread than the first time through–here are a few…
- Well-done love triangle. Okay, so this one does fall into the “going to pick NOT the boy-next-door” trope, but when Condie wrote the book she didn’t want to know ahead of time which guy she wanted Cassia to end up with, so she took the qualities she liked about her husband, split them in two, and then assigned half to Xander and half to Ky.
Pretty clever, huh? That way one guy’s not a total d-bag while the other guy is the only obvious choice. I like both characters, and Xander is a much more stand-up guy than I think I gave him credit for the first time around.
Must be all the bad love triangles I’ve read.
In this book everything is restricted. Including who you date and marry. It’s all determined by personality and behavior metrics and Cassia is lucky enough to get matched with her best friend (an EXTREME rarity). But then when she goes to look at his data card…another kid pops up right after Xander’s info! And she knows him from around town! So she’s flipping out and paying attention to this other kid now in a way she hadn’t before, but she still cares about the best friend and doesn’t know what to do.
It works. In a way that most stories about loving to people just do not. This one works.
- The Society. When i say things are restricted I DO mean everything. From what yard decor you and your neighbors are assigned to have to the individually designed meals delivered each day to the 100s.
For every form of entertainment (music, art, poetry) there have only been 100 of each allowed to survive and everything else was destroyed. Without giving away too much of the next 2 books, over time I’ve really come to appreciate the emphasis put on creativity and the power it has to change people. To insight change. I love it.
- Xander. I know I already mentioned him, but he’s much more likeable in my book than say…Aspen in The Selection. He knows his flaws and feel (rightfully) jilted but is not willing to put himself above saving another person’s life. Even if that means he doesn’t get the girl.
Part of why I liked this series so much (and why it grew on me after I’d finished it) is Xander. I’ve realized HOW concerned I was for him and what happened to him. Sometimes more than I cared about Cassia and Ky. So the fact that he ends up with a good ending to his storyline, with potential for an even better future, that makes me happy.
Can’t say more than that without giving things away.
If you haven’t gotten around to reading this series and you’re not quite over the whole dystopian thing, you should definitely pick this series up and give it a try!
Also, don’t forget to check out my reviews on some other adorable love stories!!! #FEELS !!!