Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi, YA
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Synopsis: When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living
This is a review of only the original trilogy. I know there’s another book that’s out, but I haven’t read that and I’m not sure whether I will.
That said, this is a series that I absolutely loved when I started it, but that I waited a very long time to complete and I just outgrew it. I remember reading the first book back in 2015 and LOVING it. However, I only just finished the series this year, and while I still enjoyed the final book, I had a lot of issues with it.
The writing is good. The plot is… not terribly original but still very fast paced and entertaining. The characters are I think what I had the most trouble with. They’re just so angsty, I found myself frequently annoyed with them while reading the final book. And yes, I know they’re teenagers in a shit situation, tensions run high. But teenagers can be reasonable. I feel like the way the characters behaved was an insult to teenagers sometimes. I mean, okay, it’s been a while since I was 17 and I know relationships can be hard, but come on.
Anyway, leaving that aside, I did really enjoy the series. I’m more than happy to give Alexandra Bracken’s other books a try. I really enjoyed Zu and Clancy as characters. I thought Clancy was actually a pretty good antagonist and I wasn’t entirely happy with how things ended.
Had i read this entire series in 2015, I’d have loved it. But I’ve grown and matured both as a person and as a reader in the intervening 3 years and I’m less into dystopia and much more critical of books. I’m saying this because I think that if you’re someone who hasn’t been saturated with dystopia like me and who enjoys the genre, this is one of the better dystopian YA series out there. Not the best, but certainly worth the read.
This review is a mess, but I’m not sure what to say. I may in the future read the book that was recently published, since I really liked Zu and it is a book from her perspective, but I’m not sure.