Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

H'mmm, where to fall on this one? It's a book that follows the usual teen dystopia rhythm well. Female protagonist, trained to be tough, can change the world. She's beautiful and desirable (we know this because there's the usual love triangle). She's an alpha female, perfect in every way, for the first chapter of the book, then after her fall, has to cope with the knowledge that she carries the gene which makes her a killer, and from that point on her life changes drastically.

I feel the main character was sadly too annoying to like, which made the book hard to like. Davy before her fall is insufferable, and her boyfriend simply unbearable. Davy after her fall is more interesting, but certainly not likeable. I do realise that this is intentional though - we're not meant to like this character, but maybe we are meant to relate to her. Perhaps the author is drawing parallels between her readers' cossetted worlds and Davy's before her fall. I'm not sure.
Teen readers looking for a tried and true formula are sure to enjoy the story. There is comfort in knowing exactly what you are in for when you pick up a teen dystopia, and if this is what a reader is looking for s/he will not be disappointed.

The most interesting thing about this book was the background; the message. If we as a society could define the part of a person's character that makes them a murderer I have no doubt that we would. Where would that lead us? To predicting crimes of course, a la Minority Report. What would we do next? Fear would tell us to stop the identifiable risk before the crime is committed, and what you get is the world created by Sophie Jordan in Uninvited.
Tell someone they are predisposed to violence, force them onto the fringes of society, put them together with other identified risks, and you will create the person you are most afraid of. Davy, the main character in this book, would have undoubtedly had a very different life if she had not been identified and whisked away, and I think that's why she has to be so excruciating annoyingly perfect at the start. It had to be clear that she was destined for quite different things, of which she was painfully - on our part - very aware. So annoying as Davy admittedly is, there is purpose to this.

I think this book has much to say about our prison systems, our juvenile programmes, and even the way we teach students at school.
Link to Goodreads.

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