Release date: March 28, 2017
Skylar Cruz has been betrayed by everyone she trusted. Perhaps worst of all, she and her friends have failed to stop her sister, and now the Body Market is open for business.
Skylar is through being a pawn in everyone else’s game. She may be the only one who can stop what her family started. And she must do it before everyone in the App World runs out of time.
At the end of Unplugged, Skylar had been rescued from her sister’s Body Market, but in the start of The Body Market, she is back – as a witness to the grim proceedings of human trafficking. She wants to end it all, but gets kidnapped by a bounty hunter Kit, who has his own agenda when it comes to the whole App World. Skye’s approach towards the App World was based on the love she had for her family back in the Real one, but now that she has been betrayed by them, she doesn’t know her exact place in the world. Of course, this is where the romantic subplot comes in, and between all the teenage angst of who she should choose and who she should be with, they manage to devise a way to bring down the Body Market.
As a sequel, The Body Market is marginally better than Unplugged; the former’s main pitfall was the weak world-building, with no proper structure in place. This one’s fallacy is the lack of action in general – they are said to be the resistance, but until like the third quarter of the novel, they are twiddling their thumbs with respect to how to go about resisting. A propitious week-long blizzard at the beginning of the novel allowed for the romantic tension to be developed between Skye and Kit, (which I was still not convinced by, btw) and also allowed the activities of the Body Market to halt. The pace, though seemingly fast, feels like nothing has been achieved overall – this may be because a quarter of this novel is filled with damned dream sequences. Look, the significance of those dream sequences became apparent towards the end, but did we really need so many.
The potential of the secondary characters were also wasted, with the plot focusing on the tangled love web between Skye & Kit, Rain & his girlfriend – the last such an extraneous filler jealous-ex fill-in that I don’t even remember her name (and I just finished this book). Adam and Parvda are mostly relegated to sidelines, which makes me wonder why even have the build up in the first book for them. Zeera was one character that gained prominence but only in like a tech role; Trader however gains a significant role and confirms a relationship hinted at in the previous. Ultimately, though, I felt this book was more focused on how Skye felt about Kit and Rain and her eternal comparison between the two worlds.
In the ending, I felt satisfied mainly because it afforded choice to the citizens (something I thought was going to be overlooked as in many dystopia) and also gave a realistic ending to the obstacles presented. It still retains some of the world-building problems that existed in the first, so I don’t understand how this new world order will work either. It seemed like the Real world was a wasteland, but apparently they have enough resources to live comfortably, so I did not see the need for a body market in the first place. Also, there is no apparent governing body – the Ministers were in the App World, meaning they couldn’t be in reality. Overall, I must say I am not impressed much by this sequel as I had hopes it would resolve some issues with the series but failed to do so. It, however, offers enough of a closure that you can consider the series complete, if only you don’t read the last chapter, which serves as a set-up for a new novel than an ending to this one.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Harper Teen, via Edelweiss.