Author: Della Rose
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Rating: 2 Stars
Not surprisingly, by the rating I gave it, and the many other low-star ratings it received on Goodreads, this book (originally scheduled to be published May 21st) has been scrapped and will no longer be published. You can still read my review for shits & giggles though.
The choosing season has begun. Young men will choose their brides. Young women will graciously and honorably accept. This is the way of the P-caste. Men choose, women accept. No questions. This belief had been programmed into every P-caste youth since birth. Don’t question. Do. Don’t argue. Obey.
The I-caste do not have the same opportunity. They are the servants and backbone of the P-caste society, only to live in the outcast camp. Their bloodline is believed to be the reason for the shattering of the world, leaving nothing but islands surrounded by sea. There is only one way an I-caste can become a P-caste: Marriage. A P-caste can choose an I-caste during the choosing process and change the caste.
Kallista Copper was born an I-caste. Her goal is to marry and change her caste forever. Sage Lander is a P-caste. His goal is to marry out of love and not just custom. Two people, two castes, one love, but a risk that could end it all.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
First off: gorgeous cover. That aside, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this book. I desperately wanted to like it, and for awhile, I very nearly rated it 4-stars. The story was engaging, and the lore was interesting (though I never did learn why the I-caste and P-caste were called what they were called). I got sucked into the story right away, and though at first the narrative came across as a bit slow (there was a lot of “telling”, backstory, and restating ideas over and over again), I was enjoying myself. Technically speaking, the story was fairly well written. I only noticed one glaring error (a missing word that lead to a jumbled sentence)—otherwise, the writing was clean, concise, and easy to follow. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation was spot-on.
Unfortunately, the story began to fall apart when Kallista met Sage. Their relationship sped along at a ridiculous speed. Though Sage had a month to choose a bride, it seemed like his mind was completely made up within the first three days, and never wavered. It called for me to suspend my disbelief a little bit, but I was willing to push past it—or I would have, had the relationship between Kallista and Sage not been so nauseating. Look, I get it. The two teens loved each other—but their lines were so sappy, and they were constantly kissing or caressing to the point that I can’t imagine how anyone around them could stand it. How did the elders not figure out they were together? They couldn’t keep their hands off each other, and they weren’t even remotely subtle.
Eventually, I was able to push past the sappy romance, and things really began to pick up mid-way through the story as the couple’s secrets began to come to light. (Although, I must make a note: The reveal of Aluna’s history came out of no where. I really wish there had been more build-up to her story… as it stood, a lot of the impact was lost by the way it was delivered.) Then, I was thrown for another loop. Near the last third of the book, for whatever reason, the story skipped a huge chunk of time as well as setting. Now, I was expecting a jump of some sort, but not one quite so large. What could have been a huge tension-filled moment between Kallista and the council–with her reactions towards the P-Caste and I-Caste as well as her solidarity with Sage—was completely tossed aside. I was so startled by this change in environment/time that I had to flip back and make sure I hadn’t missed any chapters. I hadn’t.
Worse yet, it happened again—and then again! The story sped along the last third, skipping huge chunks of time, and missing out on some huge moments that should have been a big part of the story. I was flabbergasted, and completely thrown by this development. As the story ended, I was left wondering what had just happened. It felt as if the author had given up 2/3 of the way into the book and had just thrown the rest of the story together as quickly as possible. It was not a satisfying ending, and to be honest, it ruined the book for me. Had the author taken their time, what was condensed down into one very short novel, could have easily been expanded into a full trilogy. I’m still not sure what happened.
Overall: I started off enjoying the book, but the ending ruined it. I wanted to like this book, but I’m still reeling from the abrupt shifts near the end. Would I read this again? Maybe. Would I recommend it? I’m not sure I would. If you’d asked me that question before the second half of the story, I would have said yes… but I can’t imagine recommending someone read a book that I know is going to throw them for a disorienting loop in the end. I’m sure there will be others out there that appreciate this book for what it was—like I said, the first half of the book was actually pretty good—it just wasn’t for me.