SPOILER FREE REVIEW
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com):
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.
Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…
Goodreads Rating: 3.79/5 Stars
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
I had felt a lot of hype when I came into this book. It was one of the most sought after ARCS at BookCon this past May, and it was intriguing with it’s flip over concept and dual story telling. More importantly, you can read this book in four different ways – and that was probably the most interesting aspect of it all.
Overall, I was a little apprehensive when it came to reading this book. I’ve had a hit and miss streak with all of Lauren’s Oliver’s books, so I was a little worried to see her working with the concept that she was. In the end, I did like what she produced, but I did feel that it had a middle grade style to it.
I ended up reading the book in the method of every other chapter, which lead to a lot of book flipped. But I am glad that I chose to read it that way, because I would’ve gotten exhausted if I just read one perspective over the other. Although it sounds like a lot of work, it was actually nice because I got a couple seconds of rest between chapters before jumping into it again!
One of my favorite aspects to this book was seeing the descripencies between the characters. For Lyra, you could tell that she had been hidden away at Haven, which was due to her more childish thinking and undeveloped description of the world. For Gemma, you could also tell that she had been raised in the real world, due to her very human like perspective. I really enjoyed seeing the differences between the two, as it really shows how people’s perspectives are naturally subjective and that we are all individuals (Sorry, psychology side coming out here.)
However, the thing that I hated seeing – which is a pet peeve of mine – was the insta-love that was seen between both of the main characters. Although I may like seeing romance lines in novels, the force of which the characters were paired off was too much for me. Not to mention, it didn’t feel like a natural development for the characters.
The other thing was that the ending felt empty to me. Since it was – technically – two stories in one novel, the story felt like it came to a sudden end and that it was only half complete. In addition, I felt that the plot had many high points in the beginning, but that it lost it’s steam towards the end of the book.
I’m hoping that the next one will be the other half of the story – since it felt as if we ended right in the middle of the story arc – and that we will get to see more character development and more secrets being revealed. Although I can’t predict what we will come across in the next one, I hope it’s good – if not better – than the first!
I highly recommend this novel to anyone who is seeking and interesting concept and a pretty light and easy read!
“Normal is a word invented by boring people to make them feel better about being boring.”
― Lauren Oliver,