2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.
Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.
A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter.
First and foremost, I’d like to thank my good friend since my scanlation days, Kureha, for recommending this book to me, because otherwise, I wouldn’t have touched this. Not the book’s fault, really. Ever since I read (and vehemently disliked) British author Teri Terry’s Slated, I’ve become wary of English/British YA novels. But thank goodness for angels like my friend, because this novel turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. I loved it! So how do you know if this book is for you? Well, let’s run down a checklist for that, shall we?
If you like
* Intellectual heroines with an innate talent for good, snarky comebacks;
* slow and steady romances that are nicely developed;
* excellently written and well-explained world-building;
* slow-paced story telling; and
* plots that don’t have “OMG, YOU STOLE MY BOYFRIEND! B*ITCH!” or “OMG, HE DOESN’T LOVE ME ENOUGH!” drama, then…
THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!
If you dislike
* detailed paragraphs;
* pages upon pages of technicalities;
* boring love interest; and
* too-good-to-be-true, loved-by-everyone, pretty-much-good-at-everything-without-even-trying-heroines, then…
You may wanna proceed with caution.
But despite my list of negative aspects that I found in this book, I’d still recommend it. Perhaps it is because my expectations weren’t high to begin with that I deemed myself enjoying it, or mayhap because I considered the snail-like pace refreshing and the lack of intense drama exhilarating, the fact, however, remains that when I finished the book and turned the last page, plastered on my face was a bright and satisfied smile.
Granted, Jarra, the main character IS (in a way) a Mary Sue. She’s excels in everything she does, and unbelievably so, sometimes; and she’s loved and appreciated by everyone. If you know me, then you know I just hate this kind of heroines. BUT! Even though this is so, you’ll end up liking her anyway because she’s amazingly intellectual, funny, and even snarky. The narration, which is set in a first person POV, just changes everything. So what happened? The Mary-Sue hater in me gave in and rooted for this badass girl to the last page. She does have a flaw, though, and it’s her drive to be the best in everything she does (read: highly competitive to the point of… well… irrationality? She does find the error of her ways early, though ;p).
For a Dystopian and Science Fiction novel, the world here is extremely well-explained. It’s the kind of place I’d love to look forward to someday (without all the apes thing) in the distant future. While I enjoyed the details, the pages upon pages of technicalities in which processes of digging rubble were elaborated made me a bit bored. Of course, they were important and vital to the story, but I felt that it wouldn’t have changed anything if there were less of them. Some people may like it, though! Because of this, the story takes on a slow pace. Nothing really big happens. In my opinion, there were no events that would make you go WTF! or FTW!, making it a completely character-driven story. But no worries, the internal narration was fun to read. I’m pretty sure most readers will like Jarra :)
All in all, this is a book to look forward to, in my opinion. I loved the world, I loved Jarra and everything about her, including the Mary Sue aspects and all. My love for British writers has been renewed <3
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