NetGalley Book Review
If you love dystopian YA, with a strong female lead, gorgeous love interests and a roller-coaster plot that keeps you glued to the page, then don’t miss Glitch. A kind of Bourne Identity meets Divergent, the book is scary, sensuous, emotional and thought-provoking, and yet the action –packed plot keeps twisting and turning, with enough shocks and surprises to keep the reader wide-eyed and breathless.
The Community is mind-controlling, freeing humankind from pain and war, but also from love, joy and the appreciation of beauty. When Zoe begins to ‘Glitch’ and see things as they really are, her secrets and lies begin to pile up. She cannot reveal her feelings and reactions – to do so would reveal her as ‘anomalous’ and schedule her for deactivation. She must control her emotions, stay blank, walk at a uniform pace, all the while experiencing real terror in case she, or her strange new power, is discovered.
Zoe meets Adrien, and extraordinary love scenes ensue (nothing M or X rated). Adrien slowly teaches Zoe about her own emotions and how to read human reactions, long denied to her before she Glitched and broke free of The Link – the Community’s mind control program. With Zoe, we experience afresh every touch, every hesitant unfurling of feeling, the raw exhilaration of love. But can she trust Adrien? Is he who he says he is, or a Monitor for the Community? If Zoe makes a mistake, it could mean death and deactivation for her, and doom for those she cares about. Is she better with Max, or should she trust her instinctive wariness around him?
Zoe cannot even rely on her memory, as memories can be wiped or altered: she can only rely on her wits and emotions of the moment, although she is only learning what emotions mean. The stakes mount higher as more Glitchers are drawn into desperate escape plans, but almost everyone could be different from what they seem, including the terrifying Chancellor who interrogates Zoe weekly.
Key aspects of Anastasiu’s writing are refreshing and convincing. Science elements such as knowledge of brain structure and emotional pathways, pathogens and allergens, lift the novel above comparable YA romance/adventures for Science fans like this reviewer. The Worldbuilding is excellent – ‘only officials had real last names instead of just work designations’. The concept that citizens can only Glitch while their brain is developing - until 18 - then they have the permanent ‘V-chip’ installed and are lost to the Community forever adds tension, and places the story squarely with teenagers.
The novel explores the nature of memory and emotion, and what it means to be human, and the consequences of our choices. The novel also has a delightful Paranormal edge with The Glitchers’ surprising and extreme anomalous powers, which emerge when they begin to Glitch.
Minor weaknesses include the contrived slang, which is so hard to get right and could annoy some readers. The protagonists fell in love a bit quickly – the dreaded instant-love of many YA novels - but later developments add an interesting spin. A memory wipe, and they are starting again. Would she remember? Will she make the same choice? There are some bumps in the writing: In the beginning, did Adrien save Zoe too quickly, taking over the action lead, before we see her fighting for herself?
Overall, the trilogy promises a gripping, fast-paced read, with wonderful, strong characters that we really care about, and a terrifying dystopian world.
This review is made possible due to NetGalley – Thanks NetGalley, I loved reading and reviewing this exciting debut novel.
This review is also published on Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10535458-glitch and will be published in a shortened form in The Ballarat Courier. http://www.thecourier.com.au/