Sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist is on the verge of graduating from the black ops factory known as the Academy. She’s smart and deadly, and knows three things with absolute certainty: 1. When the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.
2. The only species to thrive there are the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.
3. There’s no place on Earth where you can hide from the hypercanes, continent-sized storms that have raged for decades. Jansin has been lied to. On all counts. (via Goodreads)
Source: Received review copy from Skyscape (Thanks, guys!)
Oh my gosh, there are actually PARENTS in this book!
Hey, so you know those YA, dystopian-post-apocalyptic-books in which the protagonist’s parents have no character and disappear after the MC goes, “Oh yeah. I have a mom and a dad, FYI.”? Well, you will be excited to hear: THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. Jansin’s parents are named, given personality and character, and, you know, help her in her goal. I think it’s sort of become expected in YA that a character’s parents are Inherently Bad People who will try to turn their daughter (or son) in whenever they get the chance. But the thing is: parents aren’t like that in real life. They love their kids more than their jobs, most of the time, and I think this is one of those rare cases in which parent-child relationships are presented right.
I didn’t feel super-strongly for any of the characters, but I liked them.
Jansin Nordqvist is our main character. She’s your typical kicking-butt strong-female YA protagonist, but I didn’t think she had any characteristics that stood out to set her apart from Katniss or Tris or any of the other YA strong-female protagonists. Though I really did like how when she says “I can’t remember the last time I cried,” she really means SHE CAN’T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME SHE CRIED, and two pages later, she’s not crying again. It makes me feel like the author really gets that “strong” can mean both physical and mental strength.
Will is our love interest and sort of secondary main character. He was sort of just “the nice guy,” and I didn’t get a feel for how much Jansin apparently loved him. He’s not even given a last name (actually, I’m not sure if anybody on the Surface HAS last names…), but he’s a good, strong character to read about. His characterization was steady, if not defining, and that was a nice change. Also, has anybody been noticing: NICE GUYS IN YA! Seriously. It’s time to stop telling teenage girls that they should go with the bad boy who really doesn’t care about them.
Jake *coughnolastnamecough* is Jansin’s high-school boyfriend type. He’s sort of flat and doesn’t have any defining traits. His character arc was predictable, yet satisfying. Ross managed to include both Will and Jake without making it a love triangle (partially because Jake and Jansin break up before Jansin “falls in love” with Will). I liked that the typical sixteen-year-old was personified, instead of us being told about him. Triple yay!
Hey, look, guys! It’s not just the United States!
Panem. The world of Divergent. The Program. Even Harry Potter doesn’t venture out of the UK. But finally! A book that does! 😀
More than just the USA survived the hypercanes and retreated underground. In fact, the affluent of every country seem to have escaped. Jansin comes from a family of military cadets (and is one herself), and her father is pretty high up in government. So it’s only natural that she’ll be hearing about the problems of the nation with other nations. After all, politics will go on. I also like the light it cast on humanity: the affluent buying their way to safety and leaving the poor to die. It’s a warning, and it could happen in our world.
Overall, a very good book with some very nice ideas… whose characters I didn’t feel too strongly about. I liked the role of parents. I liked the plot. I liked how it also addressed the possibility of global warming affecting our world to the point of collapse and total destruction. I liked a lot of things about this book, actually. But I just didn’t LOVE anything, or feel super strongly about anyone. A nice, quick read with lots of action.
3/5 Wagging Tails