Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Source: egalley received from publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 2.5 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Alina Chase has been contained on an island for the last 17 years—whether that’s for the crimes of her past life, or for her own protection, well, that depends on whom you ask. With soul fingerprinting a reality, science can now screen for the soul, and everyone knows that Alina’s soul had once belonged to notorious criminal, June Calahan, though that information is supposed to be private. June had accomplished the impossible: hacking into the soul-database, ruining countless lives in the process.
Now, there are whispers that June has left something behind for her next life—something that would allow Alina to access the information in the soul-database again. A way to finish the crimes she started.
Aided by three people with their own secret motivations, Alina escapes, only to discover that she may have just traded one prison for another. And there are clues. Clues only Alina can see and decipher, clues that make it apparent that June is leading her to something. While everyone believes Alina is trying to continue in June’s footsteps, Alina believes June is trying to show her something more. Something bigger. Something that gets at the heart of who they all are—about the past and the present. Something about the nature of their souls.
Alina doesn’t know who to trust, or what June intends for her to know, and the closer she gets to the answers, the more she wonders who June was, who she is, whether she’s destined to repeat the past, whether there are truths best kept hidden—and what one life is really worth.
The premise of this book is very interesting. Scientists have discovered that each person has a soul and after they die, that soul goes to live in another body. They’ve done countless studies and have shown that a criminal soul in one life will likely be a criminal soul in another life. I really liked the questions that came up about how a past life could affect a future life. Are your choices dependent on what the person before you did? Are you that same person? Or are you an individual, responsible for your own choices? Can you be whoever you want to be or is your fate already written?
That being said, I really struggled to connect with this story. Everything felt contrived and forced to me. I didn’t really believe in Alina being the only person locked up. Why only her? It didn’t make sense at all and while it was explained, I still didn’t really believe it. The whole fascination with June (the girl whose soul Alina now has) kind of boggled my mind. Why June? There had to be worse criminals out there that would draw more focus. I guess I just didn’t buy into the whole thing.
And then I couldn’t connect with the characters. I liked Alina well enough, but she never took shape and became real to me. I never felt for her. After what she’s been through, I feel like I should have been rooting for her, but I just felt indifferent. The same goes for Cameron, a boy who helps her escape.
The only character I somewhat connected with was Casey, one of the other people who helps Alina escape. Casey’s motivations I could totally empathize with. Her strong sense of loyalty to her siblings allowed me to connect with her. I loved how fierce Casey was, how protective she was and how determined she was to reach her goals.
The romance was blah. I never got the feels. I never really cared. And although the relationship went slow, somehow I still felt like it was instalove. And I think it’s because conversations felt forced and the romantic interactions felt like they were there just for the sake of relationship development. Whatever it was, I wasn’t a huge fan.
So while I didn’t hate this book, I also didn’t really like it. The lack of connection to the characters made it hard for me to really get into the story. The writing itself felt forced at times, like the author was maybe trying too hard. For me, this was an interesting premise that lacked execution.
Have you read this one yet? What did you think? Were you able to connect to the story?