Although on one hand I'm really glad there are a lot of Dystopian novels these days, because I really like to read them, on the other hand this makes it extremely difficult to read an original Dystopian novel. However, the blurb promised 'a unique and thought-provoking world'. How could I not be interested in reading this?
Desiree Six (I'll come back to that) Haven has lived her life so far in the safe hand of the Protectorate, who decide everything for her. We make the choices, so you don't have to. From the job she will have, to the guy she'll marry and the day she'll die to live on in the dreamscape forever. But when her childhood friend turned murderer escapes his prison, she'll learn that not everything might be as good as she thought.
Let's start with the world. Take some kind of disaster (here: the so called Manic Age), an Institute that takes control and 'solves' these problems (here: The Protectorate) and we have a generic Dystopian setting. Extra to this particular party are: wedding planning, a very strong one child policy, and the very weird and illogical number system. Because resources are limited, people are terminated after a pre-set time to make space for new people. Not everyone is terminated at the same age. No, apparently usefulness (as I suppose you would like to keep useful people longer) is decided based on the day of the week you were born. OK. (I know I shouldn't complain, since I was born on a Saturday, I would've been a lucky seven and get to live to the nice old age of 55). But the numbers of their population must have been dwindling very rapidly. One child policy, and only a certain proportion can really have a child. A One, terminated at 25, can't really get a child, since he/she won't be able to raise the child properly and there are no grandparents who could do that either? So, it's that or a lot of orphanages. (I haven't even spoken about the fact they match partners based on being born on the same day (so they will be terminated together, how romantic).
To add to this obvious nonsense, the Protectorate has invented a machine, the Dreamscape. People are treated so they need it to be able to sleep. In the meantime, the Dreamscape isn't all pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows unfortunately. People who disobey the rules are labelled 'non-compliant' and thrown into the Terrorscape, which will bring your nightmares to live. To build on the Terror in Terrorscape, the first five minutes of everyone in Terrorscape are broadcast to the public.
There might just be some alarm bells that this society is not as utopian as it seems, at least for anyone who's ever read a Dystopian novel before, but Desiree Six is completely happy with her life. Even though her parents are about to be terminated, her biggest worries are about the guy she's supposed to like. First things first of course. Now, I would completely understand that Desiree is so compliant just because this is the life she has always lived. I would be fine with that. The problem is that she just changes into questioning everything far too fast after Darian, the childhood friend murderer, talks to her. She has no proof whatsoever at that point and it's just far too fast. Far too easy,
Near the end of the book the story really turns Divergent and The Hunger Games. That would not have been necessary for me. As was the love triangle. Really?! When will there be books again that do not have stupid love triangles or otherwise very complicated romances. *sigh*
It was a fast read, and definitely not unpleasant, but it was not the unique world that I felt was promised. However, I do think I would read the next book in the series, if it's going to be a series.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!