Straight-laced, sixteen-year-old Rebecca can’t wait for her Acceptance. A fancy ball, eligible bachelors, and her debut as an official member of society. Instead, the Machine rejects Rebecca. Labeled as a future criminal, she’s shipped off to a life sentence in a lawless penal colony.
A life behind barbed wire fences with the world’s most dangerous people terrifies Rebecca. She reluctantly joins a band of misfit teens in a risky escape plan, complete with an accidental fiancé she’s almost certain she can learn to love.
But freedom comes with a price. To escape a doomed future and prove her innocence Rebecca must embrace the criminal within.
3 Out Of 5 Stars
Genre: Dystopian, Survival--
Rebecca has been looking towards her Acceptance ceremony and the following Ball forever. Once she goes through the machine and is Accepted into society, she will be able to find a husband and start her life. But something unexpected occurs during her Acceptance, and instead she was rejected. Only bad people who will be criminals are rejected and sent to the PIT, a life sentence prison. Yet Rebecca has never committed any criminal acts, her only crime is to question the Cardinal and his power. Rebecca needs to learn to survive the horrors of the prison and determine what she wants most.
So this story was a Dystopian meets romance. The society that the book is set in is run by advanced technology, yet at times so old fashioned. Girls only wear dresses and are taught how to be good wives and mothers in school, never allowed a position outside the home. Boys on the other hand are taught all subjects in school, yet careers are assigned regardless of what the boy is interested in. Anyone who doesn’t fit the typical mold is watched or in extreme cases, gotten rid of. I felt like this book was a little bit like the series the Selection by Cass meets Branded by Ketner. I read a lot of Dystopian and I felt like most of the elements presented here I have read before. It was a well written book, there just was not anything special that jumped out and grabbed me.
I guess it is normal for this type of story, but I felt like at times I was reading a social commentary. The book had all types of people locked up because the damage that they could do to the cookie cutter of society- Out of the box thinkers, diseased, lesbians, sterile… Anyone who would not perform the way society wanted them to be exiled to the PIT, never to be heard from again. Maybe I am just jaded, but sometimes I just want to escape with a story and not have to learn a lesson or use my brain.
Rebecca was painfully naïve at times, making me not really like her. She accepted her fate in the PIT because the machine knows better and she must be a bad person if it said so. She kind of just rolled over and accepted her rejection in the beginning, but then she finally grew a backbone. So she was sent to the pit for being smart, yet really never did much of anything for me to say “yep she’s smart”. Also, it seems like she never eats her meager food rations because it smells or tastes bad, looses a ton of weight and is always undernourished, yet she makes comments about how she has never been stronger and can do things she never could before physically. Not to whip out my education here, but never eating and losing weight (which by the way muscle mass is the first to go when undernourished) would decrease her strength. I’m surprised that she doesn’t just lie there in a heap on the ground most days, too weak to do much of anything. When I go 4 hours without food, I feel like I’m dying, but she went a year without really eating. And when starving, I am pretty sure the quality of burnt food matters little. The book has her eating trash, but she won’t eat burnt oatmeal? At least that stuff will stick to your ribs for a while. And side note, there was a lot of winking going on in the book, which seems excessive. I think in my entire life I may have seen someone wink 1 time, yet it was thrown around here a lot. Maybe they picked up an eye bacteria or twitches during their stay in the PIT.
I mentioned that this was a romance, but I didn’t really care about the romance so I will barely mention it. Rebecca is drawn to Daniel, the intelligent boy who always saves her yet is unavailable, and her pseudo fiancé Eric, who she wants to want but doesn’t really feel anything romantic. I felt like the romances were a side note to help motivate Rebecca to act, but not super important to the plot. I do love a good romance, but I could have done without the angst it brought to this story.
This was a very gritty story, predominantly taking place in the PIT, which is a rule free dangerous mess for “criminals”. During the story, the main character watches as another girl gets raped, which was an awful unexpected dose of reality I was not expecting to be thrown into my face. The characters live in filth continuously, eat rotten food or trashed food daily, there is prostitution as a career option and dead corpses rot in the prison. Don’t read this book if you want sunshine and rainbows with a happy ending, because there was not one. I am pretty sure that this will be a standalone book because the ending was well enough wrapped up (even though there was no resolution) the reader has a feeling of what will come for the PIT.
So this review seems pretty negative, but like I said the book was well written and the author did an amazing job of descriptions, I just struggled with the plot and the characters. I would read more from this author in the future, just on a completely different subject matter.
I received this title from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.