Release date: November 26, 2013
YOU CAN BE A VII IF YOU GIVE EVERYTHING.
For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.
If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked – surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.
There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed, and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.
Okay, first of all, I haven’t read this author’s books before, though they are still on my mile-long TBR (when will it look shorter? when?) but since I knew the previous ones were paranormal and this one is dystopian, I was intrigued, as it is my current favorite genre. Lately, there have been many dystopian books I have liked and while the genre maybe be flooded at the moment, I feel it has a lot of potential. The myriad of ways we as humans can envision a perfect society just makes me feel so in love with this genre. In Carter’s dystopic world, which is set around a century into the future – people are ranked by a test taken at the age of seventeen, and this rank determines their profession and livelihood. Seems quite plausible and hey, maybe it really could become a thing. But like any good dystopian, there is a conspriracy (ooh, how I love those!) and Kitty Doe falls into the tangled web that is the Hart family.
Kitty is a good character – she is not some kind of hero, in fact she falters at quite some crucial moments – and she wants the best for her boyfriend Benjy who has a lot of potential but whom she thinks she is weighing down. When she gets a chance to a VII, the top rank in the country, she takes it in order to escape the drudgery that her life as a III would be. And was she in for a surprise. The Harts are the most dysfunctional family you can come across, ruled by a dictator-like grandmother Augusta, who honestly gives me the creeps, backstory notwithstanding. She is ruthless, not above replacing her own kin just so that her family can hold the power. Her daughter, Celia, Lila’s mother and she are in a tug of war over the power – and Kitty is the pawn who is being pushed around. Most of the book is a power struggle between these two women – even Daxton is a spineless wimp who is only intimidating till he has his power. Benjy and Knox are great guys – their sincerity makes me root for both of them but with the twist towards the end, well that ship (hehe) has sailed. Also the most interesting part of the character development is that all are doing whatever they are doing for reasons that seem right to them at the time or because they are backed into a corner – most of the times some even justify it with ‘I had no other choice’. With the way they were prepared to kill ruthlessly, I had expected a higher body count you know, which fortunately didn’t happen and with Kitty trying to step into the expensive and dangerous shoes that Lila left behind, that sequel is looking a whole lot interesting.
The writing, I would say, was engaging and good. I truly regret not being able to read this in one go – the storytelling was that good. Even then, the plot was gripping and I had no trouble finding my reading zone again. What I sorely missed in this book, being a dystopian, was more of the world-building. It is more than 70 years into the future, and the only advancement made was Masking – a totally useless thing unless you are a dictator ruling your country from behind a figurehead and want to replace the symbol of the revolution by replacing her with a body double. I wanted more of the imagination along with the amazing chemistry between the main characters. So, points for characters but it falls a bit short on the construction.
Received a copy from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review