Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Synopsis: Avalon wakes up from a 100 year old cryosleep in a new habitat with few memories and lots of questions. At first, HOPE (Humanity’s One Plan for Escape) habitat appears to be a well-oiled machine, preparing 5,000 carefully chosen inhabitants for a new Earth. However, a medical assistant named Ilium reveals that certain members of the habitat have been falling ill from a mysterious virus they were inoculated against. Soon, HOPE habitat’s tranquil illusion is shattered as Avalon plays a perplexing message left by her father. If Avalon is to survive this dangerous new environment , she will have to find the strength to navigate a habitat enveloped in secrets.
*I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
“Stuff is happening so fast. I just woke up and I’ve learned I am all alone.”
So I’m going to try to make this short and sweet because I absolutely detest writing reviews for anything less than a 3 star rating. I don’t like giving lower ratings to any book. I know the author poured their heart and time into this work and it pains me to write a review that is probably going to sound super negative. As far as a debut book goes, this isn’t horrible, it just isn’t for me either.
The characters lacked depth, and there was no real growth to speak of over the entirety of the book. Avalon as the main character was uninspiring and there were points in the novel I actually really disliked her. It made no sense that she was a prodigy and yet was so easily distracted by wanting the attention of a boy. Ilium was so one-note as the “protective” male figure and it was hard to enjoy their romance when he had feelings for her literally a day after she got out of her pod. The same can be said for Kael, who had the potential for growth from being the shallow character he started out as, but the moments he could’ve had to be a great character were completely wasted. All of the side characters were basically useless filler and I don’t think they added much of anything to the story except to advance the plot conveniently. And the villain in this first book wasn’t scary in the least, I just kept waiting for something more scary to happen.
The plot of the virus started out to be interesting, but then it just dovetailed into a hundred other ideas that by the end of the book I was so confused as to what genre this book was actually trying to be. Science Fiction? Dystopia? Fantasy? Romance? Sometimes the use of multiple genres can work if done right, Outlander is the perfect example of that, but in this case everything just got confusing to the point that I didn’t even know what the characters were fighting for anymore. The plot made leaps I couldn’t follow, characters appeared out of nowhere and things were never explained that needed to be. *Since writing this initial paragraph the author did explain to me that she intended for this to be multiple genres: mystery, dystopian and light romance.
I did have problem with how the characters spoke and how the language read in the book, although the author did explain to me that this is because of their high IQs and she wanted the styling to be almost like Big Bang Theory. But I still felt a lack of exposition of settings or even just expanding on how a character felt about a certain situation, maybe it would’ve been helped by a dual POV or by using first person narrative instead of third. I felt like I was left to guess at a lot of things until there was just a tiny tidbit of information, which was never enough or came to late for me to really be invested anymore.
Overall this book just felt unfinished. I wish the plot wouldn’t have felt rushed, the characters would’ve been given more time to grow and be fully fleshed out individually and I could’ve gotten to know the habitat and just the general settings more. In the end I didn’t feel interested in the characters or the story, which is a shame.
The one thing I can say about this book is that the concept the author was going for when it started is a good one. Of course by the end I was completely confused, but I’ll put that aside to say that going with the starting idea of the habitat with a certain amount of people and a virus that could kill them was interesting, it reminds me a lot of “The 100” which I really like. The class systems were interesting as well and I think that was a hidden gem where the character development could’ve really been utilized, but when the fantasy elements and all that other stuff stared coming in, it lost me. Go back to those core story ideas, that’s where the treasure is.