Verdict: A dystopian romance with prose to die for.
Imagine a world where love is a disease, one that you’re cured of when you graduate. A disease you live with for years and years, watching others get cured before you, their lives boxed off into neat little ‘compatible’ categories. That’s what Lena is facing, and it all seems a normal-but-scary part of life, until she meets someone who shows her the truth about love.
Lena is fairly ordinary. She could be you or me. She’s skin for you wear while you read. I prefer characters with a bit more bite to them, but she grows throughout the book in a way that made me back her.
I liked how friendship and familiar love is just as strong a theme as the romantic side, and I found Lena’s friendship with Hana more intriguing than the romance. It was almost painful to read how the two grew up together and drifted apart, and I desperately wanted them to overcome their issues and become stronger than before.
I also loved the idea of The Book of Shhh, which is quoted in the story when explaining deliria nervosa. In fact, each chapter starts with snippets of various propaganda material, each interesting in their own right, layering the world-building with every chapter.
The overall plot is fairly predictable. Once you’ve read a few dytopians, you know how this will play out from start to finish. It reminded me of The Island, The Giver, even Divergence, and definitely We. The beauty of this book is not what happens, but how it makes you feel, and this one packs a punch to the heart in every sentence.
Some of the prose felt superfluous, slowing down the pace so that the author could show off her awesome imagery skills. I think some it could be shaved off, although I wouldn’t go as far as it say purple prose. Every line had a purpose, every word breathed life into the story. The imagery is exceptional, powerful and passionate as if the authoress was born to write this book. It just felt a long winded. Extended. Repeating the point. You get me?
I knew early on it would get five stars out of me. It’s a dystopian romance with prose to die for, and if you like the idea of the concept, you’ll probably fall in love with this book.
Source: Bought it.