Saturday, December 13, 2014

Review: The City Center (The New Agenda #1) by Simone Pond

During the man-made apocalypse in the 21st century, a group of elites killed off a majority of the population. Only two groups of survivors remained––those selected to reside inside the Los Angeles City Center and the rebels, relegated to live on the Outside.

Centuries later, Ava Rhodes is one of five potential successors competing to become the next Queen of the City Center. A week prior to the final competitions she encounters Joseph, a rebel from the Outside, and discovers her utopian home is actually a prison and breeding facility aimed at designing the perfect human. She escapes with Joseph to the Outside world, sending the City Center’s leader, Chief Morray, into an obsessive pursuit for his property.

Along the journey, Ava falls in love with Joseph and discovers an even darker secret about the fate of her people. She must decide whether to stay with Joseph, or save her people from destruction.

I recently just started reading dystopian novels again. For quite a while it felt like every young adult novel that came out had some sort of dystopian angle to it. The young adult genre just felt saturated with them. I had read so many good ones that I just couldn't stop myself from picking up a new one every other day. But then I started to get a little burned by them. They were coming out so fast from so many authors that they just didn't have that something special and unfortunately, a bunch were just a waste of my time to read. So I put the whole genre down. I haven't read one in more than a year, I think. Anywho ... it was a big deal for me to pick this up. It was an even bigger deal to love it as much as I did! 

This is one of those futuristic novels that has a whole butt load of technology that we don't have but Simone Pond explains each thing pretty well and I didn't find myself wondering about how anything works with the exception of two things. There were two things that I just really didn't understand and were glossed over a bit, I felt. 

As a reader, I'm greedy. I'm greedy as hell. I want ever morsel of information that the author is willing to give PLUS a handful of things that they aren't. Now, were these two items a big deal? Not really. It didn't change my reading experience when I didn't really understand them and to be honest, there's a chance that I skipped over the part where it was explained. I kind of devoured The City Center and found myself having to reread paragraphs because I was just going way too fast. You know how that is. 

I really liked the main characters and I became Ava's cheerleader pretty quickly. She's a smart and spunky character that you can't help but root for. I was excited to see what she was up to with each chapter and Pond really kept me on my toes with her. Just when I thought that Ava was in a situation that she couldn't handle, she did. Don't read that as me saying that Ava was written conveniently ... she didn't get out of impossible situations because she found (conveniently) the exact item that she needed or coincidentally something fell from the sky at exactly the right moment ... no. Ava used her wits and training at surprising moments that really boosted the story to a whole new level within the young adult genre. She was just a really well character that I enjoyed thoroughly. 

But. (Come on, you had to know it was coming since I didn't give this book that I really enjoyed 5 stars). Okay... here it is ... the problem was the end. I just didn't like it. Like I said, I'm a greedy reader. I want to know EVERYTHING. Up until the last 15%, the book was moving at a perfect pace - quickly, but not so fast that things were missed but not so slow as to make me want to throw my Kindle out the window. But then that last bit of the book came along and it seemed like things started happening at this break-neck speed. I felt a bit robbed. I want to know the nitty-gritty details. Make the book a little longer, I don't care or make it shorter and pop that last part into a new novel or a novella even. ANYTHING but rushing through. Le sigh. 

All in all, this was such a good book that I really enjoyed. I'm excited to jump into the next novel and see what Ava is up to now!

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