Author: Simone Pond
Genre: Dystopian/Action Adventure/ Young Adult/ Adult
Book Rating: 7
Personal Rating: 6.5
Before I even begin to go into why I didn't really enjoy this novel, lets just say this author knows how to write. In fact she writes exceptionally well. And it was a debate whether to give this a five star or one star review, ultimately I decided three would be best. There may or may not be a lot of spoilers in here so continue at your own risk.
Good points the framework of the plot was brilliant, evil villains, set up intrapersonal conflicts with heroes and interpersonal conflicts between them and the enemy. Overall good devices for character development. The pacing was way to slow in the beginning but truthfully once I got into the second half, almost the third act really, it was just mindblowingly awesome. So why did I not like it? Her two main characters. Ava and her daughter Grace.
The author expects me to believe that they are just stubborn that what they do is because they are trying to save the world, and so on and so forth. The reality is they are just stubborn. In book three, seventeen years after the revolution I find out that Ava spent all those years in the mainframe hunting down Murray and not so much of it with her family. On top of that when she gets a job in the city she blatantly ignores the only rule she was given and gets herself trapped in the mainframe because of it. It was an obvious plot because I never ever expect her to just do what she's told and go through the channels. You could see it was a trap a mile away. So wasted most of her child's life being overprotective and hunting murray ultimately gets trapped in the mainframe.
Her daughter, the same nonsense. In soldier training she consistently broke form and disobeyed orders because she was 'saving' people and her team of course failed more often than not because of her stubbornness. In this book, she goes on the run to save a toddler that isn't hers to protected it from the villain of this book. The reality of the situation is you cant help a child in prison and there's nothing any author can logically do to remedy that. She's a kidnapper now no matter what her motives were and no one not even her friends are in authoritative enough positions to help because they will ultimately lose their jobs if they do. Yet when her father and all her friends tell her she should've went through the proper channels she still argues with them. This would not be a problem if she learned from this but nope. She tries to escape after being captured instead of formulating a real plan hence supplying video evidence to work against her. Suffice it to say I don't like Grace or her mother. Not even a teeny bit.
The plot in this book thankfully (I was afraid it be more I'm giving up my life to go into the mainframe and find my mother for a whole book) and also unfortunately, seems to hang on the fact that being stubborn and not admitting that you are wrong and meaning it is acceptable. And more importantly neither Ava or her Daughter seem to change not one bit. As far as they are concerned they can do whatever they want if their intentions are good. The law is clearly not something that they need abide by. It's just frustrating to read cause you expect a turning point somewhere. Some sort of self analysis, but Ava's only goal is to destroy Morray, and Grace's only goal is to save Christian, and all of the multitudes of people affected by their decisions seem to just not matter. And they are the two heroes.
There was one line in the book that clear sums up exactly why this series bugged me. Ava says, and no this isn't a direct quote, that she spent over seventeen years of her life trying to keep her family safe from Morray and now she's stuck in the Mainframe alone with him and away from her family. What i get from this is even the character recognised for albeit too late that she should've just lived her life to it's fullest instead of letting this need to destroy Morray take over her very existence. This in itself would not be a problem, except that the series is over now. Her daughter is an adult who's trying to be a mother herself so that time can't be bought back, and I can't wholeheartedly be okay you're my hero when even knowing you should've done things differently you still didn't change. Case and point, plot spoiler here, when her daughter finally finds her inside the mainframe and tells her to shut up she's found a way to get her out, I believe I counted four times she continued to converse with the enemy. After all Ava had been through, when the time came for her to behave and realise this stubbornness only causes problems she still couldn't do it. And that was at the end of this book. What if Grace couldn't help her because of the simple fact Ava couldn't follow a simple command to shut up? Would she suddenly feel remorseful again for not just following rules and commands?
Needless to say like mother like daughter. Both stubborn. Both seem remorseful because of the trouble they cause, and then they both repeat the cycle again and again and again. And we the readers are supposed to just think it's okay. In its most basic form this series, except for book one which was mind blowing awesome, brilliant. Again in it's most basic form, instead of teaching us that sometimes you have to follow your instincts and just do what you know in your heart is right, these books, especially book three and four, teach us that you can just do whatever you want in life as long as you claim you had good intentions. Or to be more accurate as long as you have good intentions. There's no balance of sometimes you have to do what you're told done in an effort to make the bold courageous and fearlessness of the leads stand out because they always just do what they want. Never compromise and always argue. Even in the end of the book Grace has even more trouble getting rid of Ava because she's trying not to leave Grace in the mainframe. Everyone, even Morray knows Grace can't save herself from annihilation and yet here the only woman who can is trying to stay in the place where she can't do anything to save her. After being stuck in there for almost a year and a half a chance to right it all is right in front of her and she doesn't want to leave the consciousness of her daughter behind to go save her real body before she has no body to go into.
And the conflict between Ava and Morray dragged. Honestly all the internal dialogue about him being the enemy and trying not to speak to him and so on and so forth. Why? You hate him. He wants you, but you have no one else to talk to. You know he's trying to manipulate you into warming up being a teeny bit sociable shouldn't change your view of that. Just hedge him of when he crosses that wall. Set up some clear conversation boundaries and talk. He's been alive 300 years hate him or not there's lots of things she could've got out of him that were actually interesting that could've helped her not go crazy in the endless void of white space.
That's all for now. So yeah for such a perfectly crafted work of art, the two main characters just kind of pulled me way out of the book. In fact the villains where way way more entertaining to read. They were fun. I just couldn't before and still cant be down with stubborn blatant disregard for the rules is the way to go unless of course as in other stories it puts you in the position to help, in this book it got Grace imprisoned and in the last it got Ava trapped in the mainframe. Both results any reader could see coming from way back in the fifteenth century. And one negligible thing, there's apparently no such thing as dating. A culture that used to have their emotions dimmed by mist doesn't want to explore them now that they have them? It's very I dunno, Disney. At least both these women are eighteen and not disney sixteen, well Grace is soon to be eighteen. But it's just a little too idealistic especially from a family that's supposed to be forging a way into freedom.
But having said all that. Would I recommend this book. Yes. This book regardless of what I consider to be major flaws, there are more than what I mentioned, is without a doubt the type of stuff that number one best sellers are made of. It hits all the points. Does all the things a good young Adult novel should do, and any teen girl or boy or adult that likes this genre would probably shoot through the moon over this book. Especially once they get out of the grueling first half. It's nothing short of brilliant. And I cant say that I'm surprised, I did give the first in the series five stars after all.