I love characters from novels. They’re my favourite part. My opinion of a book is usually 80% based on the characters – how real they are, their connection with the reader, their emotions, their attitudes, quips, styles, and how dimensional they are. I felt like Starters was a plot driven book. I missed the characters. I missed the emotion.
The plot is excellent! The premise and the way it played out was fresh, exciting and well done. I could see everything. The author carved her dystopian world slowly, so I wasn’t overwhelmed with any info dumps, and she made everything clear. From the ziptasers, to the zings and z-mails, (besides feeling very zzzed out), I saw the world and liked what I saw. I just didn’t like hwat I felt, because, I felt virtually nothing.
I didn’t care about Callie Woodland (whose name sounds suspiciously like Caddie Woodlawn, one of my favourite children’s classics). I didn’t know Michael from a bar of soap, not even at the end. I felt remote pity and sympathy for little Tyler, mostly because he was sick and his sister (Callie) had to almost abandon him to save him. And Blake? He played the “nice boy”, but I don’t consider that a personality. And the “bad guy”? He didn’t have a face. Or a name, bar The Old Man, which isn’t scary at all. To me, this is all a sharp disappointment.
I’m also surprised that Starters is compared so highly with The Hunger Games. If you’ve hung around our blog for long enough, you may have picked up on the fact that we’re huge Hunger Games fans (because we’re totally unobvious about it, right?). While I agree, yes, the plot is brilliant and high marks and applause all round – but a “worthy successor” to The Hunger Games? I don’t think so. At all. (Not even close. Okay! I’ll stop…)
Because of the premise – selling bodies – it’s natural to assume the book might get a little havey-cavey. It doesn’t. There is a strict rule, in the body-selling-business, of no sex. The romance is quite flat too, with nothing beyond a semi-passionate kiss. And there is a hint of a love triangle…but not enough to actually earn the title. Let’s see what happens in book two, shall we?
And then it ended…oh, how it ended! It’s disturbing, but not in a good way. I felt…cheated! Which I suppose is a good thing. Rest assured that everything you think you know, you probably don’t know, and everything you don’t think you know, you probably know. Make sense? Because it’s true. While I think the twist at the end was well written and a good idea, I was disgusted. For fear of spoilers, I’ll say no more, but my opinion of the characters dropped even further.
Starters has a brilliant plot, not so brilliant characters, and a front cover to stop you in your tracks. Let’s see what book two (coming soon and entitled: Enders) brings, shall we?
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. . . .
[REVIEWED IN 2013]