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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Taken from my Goodreads Review:

Review to come. Stayed up til 4 am to  finish! enjoyed reading it. Some things a little wonky, but I could go with it.
2.5 Stars

Okay, this review is a bit stream of consciousness, so it will probably be all over the place. I said I enjoyed reading it. This is true, although it's probably not for the reasons you think. I enjoyed reading it because I was interacting with the book in the way of talking to myself as I was reading. >.<

I was torn between 2 stars and 3.5 stars, so I went with 2.5. Why the vast difference from 2 to 3.5, you ask? It's fair. I'm an adult reading a YA novel. Things that don't sit well with me as an adult are things that YAs may not think about. I mean, look at the Twilight series for example. Things we as adults pick out, teens did not see.

At first, I found the story gripping. A young girl wakes in her own house, but it's falling apart, sun-bleached and dusty, nothing is as it seems. She can't remember her body changing, doesn't recognize herself in the mirror, etc. As the story progresses, it's very current with our concern today with the honeybees situation. It's a NOW kind of dystopia that only took FOUR YEARS to come into being. Amazing at how quickly humanity deteriorates into a US vs THEM as opposed to trying to help one another. Star Trek utopia this is not. As the food disappears and the men outpopulate the women, humanity reverts to this...medieval, brutality more and more and, of course, there is one power lord desperately trying to hold onto his power.

A love story develops because...well, it just does. There's a brief convo explaining that he's crushed on her for years, but really, it comes off as more of a stockholm syndrome relationship. This is one of the things I didn't like.

Another thing I wasn't fully on board with as the damn protagonist, Fiona. She's a damn twit. Okay okay okay okay - I KNOW. She's mentally still 13 years old and therefore thinking like a 13 year old, I guess. And she's been in a coma for 4 years so despite being 17, she's still 13 and hasn't a farking clue as to what is going on. But dammit...she was supposed to be a smart child. And where are your SURVIVAL INSTINCTS? I admit that at 13, I was booksmart, but naive, but you know...I was also trained in self-defense like she says she was, but she acts like such an IDIOT. First there's her captor, and within a day she's in love with him despite him being rough and mean to her at first. What?! Yeah. He falls asleep and she stares at his lips for hours. HOURS.

(Spoilers ahead)

And then <spoiler> there's the whole scene where she SHOOTS Dryden. She didn't look up to see the face of the person running up the stair well towards her?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You idiot. You knew he was outside and on the run, why wouldn't you LOOK? Ugh.

Not to mention the whole role of women in the book. Yes there are fewer women. I think the author said the ratio of men to women are 8:1. Okay...and then the book says that women, especially if they're pretty like Fo/Fiona, are constantly at the risk of being raped when outside the wall. What?! And if they're INSIDE the wall, they're baby making factories to repopulate the world BECAUSE THAT IS OUR SOLE PURPOSE AS WOMEN. Oh, but only til we're 55 and then we're (all citizens) are either killed or tossed outside the wall to try and survive because you are now useless and serve no purpose.

And is Fiona on drugs? She keeps drifting back to piano pieces and other fluff as opposed to how the hell she's going to find food for herself or get away from the militia or you know, survive. Then she and Dreyden are running for it, going rogue, and they end up staying an abandoned hotel (why would you go into one of those? Room after room after room of possible "beasts"?!), he makes her a bath by gathering toilet water for her while she's sleeping, finds her a suitcase full of clothes and the first thing she picks? A sundress. You're on the run for your life and you pick a sundress. /facepalm.

Inside the walls, the legal age has been reduced to 15 years old for marriage. Dreyden makes the comment that he was uncomfortable looking at girls 12, 13, 14 years old as a future possible wife. Hellllloooooooooo pedobear! Lovely.

There are more questions than answers and things that just made me scratch my head. Dreyden TELLS Fiona that there are no more bees, they used the pesticide and wiped them all out, and with it livestock, crops, and a ton of people. Soooo where does the honey come from? Is it a stockpile of the days before? Honey is bee vomit, basically. No bees, no bee vomit, no honey. Movement of Fo and Bowen aren't really clear to me, the movement transitions were a bit fuzzy. The science isn't fully fleshed out and the world just wasn't built clearly enough for me. Fecs live in the sewage tunnels, but inside the city they have running water and sewer, sooooo why is it spongy and nearly dried out? Why do people outside of the wall become so animalistic and yet expect to find a way to be allowed to live inside? Fancypants electromagnetic cuffs in only 4 years? Who is manufacturing this stuff when the people inside are supposed to get married, make babies, and that's it?

In the end, Dreyden is excited to make an announcement by standing on the wall with the little metal mic in his mouth, announcing that a  cure has been found. Fiona? She's worried about whether her broken pinky will heal enough for her to play the piano. WHY DOES SHE NOT GET IT? </spoiler>

So yeah. I didn't like Fiona and found her vapid. I didn't connect with any of the characters or found the world wholly believable. This was such a good, current idea and a lot of the reactions of humanity were believable. Just not the lead characters.

Now, trying to put myself into my teenage self's shoes: I would've liked it a lot more! I still would've questioned some of the things and balked at the description of women being forced into marriage at such young ages to have babies, etc., but I would've ignored the asshole captor is now my love interest and just focused on the fact that he IS the love interest and that they share a few sweet kisses. I would've been happy with the ending and viewed Fiona's thoughts as okay because there is a cure now and OBVIOUSLY the world is going to get better.

I think the YA reader is more forgiving than the adult reader and would enjoy reading this without having the issues I did. It is readable in that there aren't awkward pauses and I DID want to continue reading to find out what is going to happen.

Yeah. I can stand behind 2.5 stars. This was an okay read.