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The review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Kitty Doe has agreed to help the rebellion. She trusts Knox enough to let him lead her through what needs to be done for the rebellion to succeed. Above everything else, she knows that the government needs to change. But the longer she pretends to be Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, the more she wonders what side Knox is playing for. Then everything shifts and suddenly she is in Elsewhere, the land where criminals are sent after they are caught, a horrible place to be. From there, revelations occur and things with the rebellion escalate pretty quickly. The question is, how much is Kitty willing to sacrifice to make sure they succeed?
Kitty is the same character I enjoyed in Pawn. I like the element that she isn’t the special little snowflake who must step forward. She has that Katniss attitude of “I really don’t want to fucking do this, but you’re not giving me a choice.” She steps up a bit more here because she actually agreed to stay and help, despite the fact that Knox keeps refusing to tell her what’s going on. It’s funny because he expects her to act like an adult while treating her like a child. He recruited her to help, but he doesn’t really want her help. He just wants a figurehead, a pretty face people will follow. Which shows he doesn’t know her well at all because she’s all in now and will do whatever she can to make this thing succeed, even if her ideas are stupid and childish.
Then we have Benjy, Kitty’s boyfriend. This guy wins my heart over and over. He’s smart and sweet and incredibly loyal. He’s dedication to Kitty is commendable. His willingness to standby her even as she pretends to be Knox’s fiance in public just made me love him more. He’s the best friend that almost never actually wins the girl in the end. No, the girls always go for the cocky bad-ass (AKA Knox). Even though I’m usually all for the cocky bad-ass (Hello Daemon Black!), but I love it when the sweet guy wins because in real life, that’s who I prefer. In real life, the cocky bad-ass is usually an asshole without a hidden gooey center who never changes to anything beyond a grade A douchebag.
Speaking of douchebags, there is still Knox. I don’t understand the people out there who ship Kitty and Knox. The guy is a borderline jackass who constantly refuses to really trust Kitty or allow her any decision making. He’s constantly bosses her around and forbidding her to do things, which is the wrong approach with Kitty. The minute you tell her explicitly not to do something is the minute she seriously considers doing it. In the end, I think he’s a decent enough guy who truly just wants to do what’s right by the people, but he could go about it a different way.
The beginning of this novel is a bit slow and hard to get into. You are thrown back into Kitty’s world with little to no background. I read the first one last year before it was released, so it’s been a good year since I’ve been in her head and a little catch-up would have been appreciated. The slow start (and the cliffhanger) are the reason it gets 4 stars instead of 5. Once you get to Elsewhere, things pickup quickly. You learn so many new and interesting things. You learn about Kitty’s family, which shouldn’t come as a complete shock. I knew pretty early on who one of her parents was. I love the new relationships that develop. I will also say that there is a moment when I almost rage-quit this book. Those of you who know my big pet peeves (::cough cough:: character death ::cough::) will know this scene as soon as you arrive at it. For those who worry like me, have no fear, it isn’t what it seems! That’s all I can say without spoilers on that subject.
I find myself a little tired of dystopians lately. They are being mass-produced and not all of them are tolerable. Plus, they all have that special-little-snowflake thing going on and I’m bloody tired of that as well. But I really enjoyed Pawn last year and I couldn’t resist trying to get this when I saw it on NetGalley. Even though I’m stuck in contemporary mood, I knew this would be well worth the effort and I wasn’t wrong. Carter manages to deliver an original feeling dystopian in a time when they are as common as Divergent fangirls. Carter gives us a compelling story with fascinating characters and a plot that has the right balance of surprise and predictability. If you like dystopians even a little, this is the series for you! Make sure to read the first one though, otherwise this won’t make much sense!
****Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****