Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Review: Socialpunk by Monica Leonelle

I was contacted recently by Monica Leonelle, author of the Social Punk trilogy. For the release of the first book, she was doing a "blog tour" in order to get the word out about the book. I thought this was an awesome idea, so I happily agreed. I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for promising to write and post an honest review. So here is that honest review.

*DISCLAIMER: I am in no way being paid for this. The incentive for writing this review is: a free copy of this book, and an entry in a prize giveaway (which you will have a chance to enter, too!). Also, I really just love to read books, and have been meaning to post a few book reviews, anyway.

Initially, I didn't think I would take a significant interest in this book. It's kind of a sci-fi meets fantasy for young adults, and I usually don't take well to those kinds of stories. However, this book was surprising easy for me to get really into right from the beginning. Here's the official description:

Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.

I immediately identified with the main character, Ima. She's a shy, inward girl who is dealing with a really messed up home life. She's a very likeable character, Monica does a great job of bringing Ima's hopes and fears to life on the page. It's the same for the other characters, as well. Each character is entirely unique, and their personalities and backgrounds (to a reasonable extent) are made known. I like that I can understand why each character does what they do based on what I know about them. They make sense to me. Therefore, the characters are very easy to get attached to.

The story from there on (without including any spoilers) is about Ima being ripped away from everything she knows and thrown into a strange world she doesn't understand. It follows her through her struggles with herself, her fears, and her morals. She also deals with learning that she may not be exactly who she thought she was, and her going through significant changes as she finds out her true identity. I love the character transformation throughout this story.

The story is fast-paced and incredibly exciting. The worlds that Monica created for this story, and the way that they intertwine with each other, are mind-boggling. This book reminds me a bit of a more modern-day 1984 by George Orwell. It deals with plots by the "higher-ups" in government to control people on a massive scale. While some of the things that happen in this book are outrageous, they are still credible in the sense that this is how things could be. It's scary, because you feel like you are in this world, experiencing the corruption, and you want to join the characters in their fight to change it. And I couldn't help but make connections between what happens in the world today, and what's happening in this book. It's kind of like we went down a slippery slope of corruption and greed as a society, and ended up in this book; the worst of all possible outcomes.

I have very few complaints about this book. One being that the names of the characters are too similar. While I recognize that there is a deeper meaning to the similarity in Cinder's and Ember's names, it's sometimes quite difficult to keep track of who is who. The same thing goes with Nasser and Nahum. These two characters were introduced at roughly the same time in the book, and it was hard (at first) not to mix them up. This was a bit confusing. My second (and last) complaint is that the book contains quite a few minor typos. I know this has nothing to do with the story, and most people wouldn't even notice, but as a self-proclaimed "Miss Wordy Pants," things like this really bother me. But I digress. There's no doubt I'll be one of the first in line to purchase the second and third installments. I just can't wait to find out what will happen next!

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