Saturday, May 3, 2014

Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Title: Starters
Author: Lissa Price

Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Length: 352 pages
Original Publishing Date: March 13th, 2012
Series: Starters and Enders #1
Where I got it: E-book from the library

Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .

Main characters: 4/5

Callie's protective instincts for her brother and her survival skills made her endearing. I also liked some of the background that Price included, such as how Callie learned shooting skills from her dad before the wars. I was deep inside Callie's mind, which I loved, and I could truly understand her decisions and why she pursued them. Callie was often bland and boring. It's not that she was underdeveloped per se, because Price gave Callie a background and development throughout the story, however I was hoping for more complexity, I suppose.

Secondary characters: 2/5

I don't know whether I was reading too fast or what but some of the Enders borrowing Starters bodies started to blend together for me. Maybe it was that they all seemed to be plot devices that moved the story forward. Helena was the one exception, but then she kind of had to be. I didn't mind her. I liked the idea of Tyler and Michael but most of the novel was spent away from them so I didn't feel like I got to know them well enough. Blake was also a little bland but I could forgive that based on the rest of the book.

Writing style: 4/5

You know sometimes how when you're reading a book that's incredibly amazing, you can't control how fast you read and you are going so fast that you almost get ahead of yourself because you just have to know what happens next? Most of Starters was like that. And that is a great thing for a book to do. Sometimes I wanted a little more description for me to really envision everything however.

Plot: 4.5/5
I love the premise; it was absolutely such an original twist on the old dystopian genre. Although some parts of the worldbuilding seemed a little farfetched, I loved the interaction between Starters and Enders and the world that Price built. This world was well thought out although I did get caught in the details. The idea of Enders in Starters bodies was easy enough to wrap my mind around but in practice I got a little confused. I just want to give a shout out to the twist however! With a shift that left me with whiplash and a "twist hangover", Starters really impressed me with how caught off-guard I was after that shocking turn of events toward the end. Well done Ms. Price. 

Ending: 5/5

I already mentioned the twist but I also appreciated the ambiguity surrounding the ending and the way that it ended on the tiniest bit of a cliff. This cliffie was just the perfect amount of shock and complexity to leave you thinking and questioning the plot long after it was done. This is how a cliffhanger should be done.

Best scene: The twist!

Positives: An endearing and likeable main character, writing style and pace, unique premise, the twist and the ending

Negatives: Simple and flat secondary characters, Callie was a little boring, I wanted more description, some confusing plot points, 

Cover: I am really not a fan of this cover. It has an animated feel to it which I'm not a fan of and I don't really like the font. 

Verdict: A unique premise coupled with a fantastic writing style and plot twists makes for a quick and thought-provoking read.

Rating: 7.8/10 (4 stars)

Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!