Monday, May 16, 2016
Take a little bit of Matched, a little bit of The Hunger Games and a little bit of The Giver and you have most of the elements of Abberant by Ruth Silver.
Olivia is just days from her 18th birthday. That is the day when she will be assigned a marriage partner by her city's government. It's the way it works in her society - everyone gets married at 18 to an assigned spouse, they are given an assigned job, and then, if they are very lucky, sometime between age 18 and 29 they might get a baby, if they are chosen in the annual lottery. All the babies are conceived in labs, because no woman on the planet (which we assume is Earth?) has been able to conceive since the Red Plague that followed the 4th World War. Because of this, married couples no longer have sex or any kind of physical intimacy. They marry only so they can help each other if they are chosen to raise a baby.
Olivia is very lucky: she is matched and married to her childhood best friend Joshua. He has been her one true friend since the day her father died in a terrible fire at his office. But then Olivia's word falls apart - she is arrested on her wedding night and tossed in jail along with her mother, because of a crime her mother committed: she got pregnant. Olivia quickly learns her mother is the first woman to have naturally conceived a baby in generations, and this might mean Olivia herself could potentially also have babies.
Now the government wants to study her like a lab rat, and the rebels she turns to for help want to force her to have a baby... with ANYONE except Joshua.
The couple goes on the run trying to find anyone who can help them do the one thing that seems impossible in their world: make their own choices about their own future and their own bodies.
It SOUNDS like the premise for a really good book. The problem is, there are so many plot holes it becomes ridiculous quite quickly.
****** WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!!! ******
First off, books are illegal in this society, but it just so happens that Olivia reads all the time. Because is just so happens that her dad had a whole bunch of illegal books in their basement. So Olivia is the only one who knows about kissing and sex and how babies used to be made. Except that she doesn't, because even though Joshua is completely shocked when she kisses him, (because no one has ever kissed him, since no one knows what a kiss IS in this world) a few pages later he is trying to get him to have sex with her.
During her marriage ceremony, Olivia specifically hopes she is not matched to Joshua because it would be way too weird to marry her best friend. But when the rebels tell them she can't be married to him anymore, she insists that he is only one she wants to be married to because she loves him... in a society where love is not a THING....
It goes on and on and on and on like this. Olivia has never seen a car, but somehow she knows how to drive. She needs to dye her hair (even though she has already told us that there are no luxuries in her world, so no cosmetics or hair dyes exist) but somehow ONE person in their entire universe manages to MAKE HER hair dye (from berries!) that doesn't come off even though she manages to shower almost every day.... even while on the run.
Joshua finds a map to a mysterious city hidden under another map... even though the map is in a museum.... and kept under glass... oh but it's ok because the glass is not locked, so he totally knew to lift up this ONE glass in this ONE museum and look under this ONE map and NO ONE IN THE MUSEUM noticed??? Oh and all of a sudden, a bunch of people have super powers. For NO DAMN REASON AT ALL!
This was clearly a case where an author tried to bite off WAY More than she could chew. She threw in so many things that did not need to be there that it just turned in a big confusing mess.
The book is (of course!) the first book in a three part series. I do not plan on reading the rest of the series, it's just too silly to want to continue.
Final Rating: 2/5 bookmarks. Only because it starts out with potential, and then squanders is horribly.