Author: Marie Lu
Recommend: A strong start to what could be a great series
I’ve seen this one a few times. I’ve almost bought it twice. Honestly, the cover just didn’t do it for me and that was the deciding factor in previous attempts. Sad but true. Then I heard that the author got the idea while reading Les Miserables. She was contemplating the relationship between Jean Valjean and Jauvert when she wondered what a more modern version might look like. If I had to pick one book to be my favorite, Les Miserables is it, so when I heard that the idea came from it, I requested the book immediately. I’m so glad I did and wished that I hadn’t been turned off by artwork. When they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that is very true in this case.
Day is the most hunted criminal in the republic. A rebel who begins by wanting to protect his family has never killed, until the death of June’s brother. June is the brilliant military prodigy, left alone in the world when Day murders her brother. She graduates early and is immediately placed on Day’s cause, chasing him down through the streets of Los Angeles. When June stumbles into the truth, nothing will be the same again.
Okay the parallels to Les Miserables are definitely there, but not so much that they would seem obvious to most readers. Day of course, is Jean Valjean, June is our Jauvert with a feminine twist. While the surface of the story is different the characters are still motivated by the same things. Day is almost the perfect Valjean. He protects his family by becoming a criminal, saves a little girl’s life, he is poor and has a reduced level of citizenship because of it, he saves the life of his hunter, and is given a punishment far too harsh for his crimes. June is mostly like Jauvert but there are a few twists simply because she is female. This has created some of the most complex YA characters I have ever read.
I do actually have one negative for this book. While I love the fact that it is written in dual first person, I don’t like that the author/publisher/editor or whoever decided to print everything Day has to say in gold. It made half the book a real strain on my eyes. I think that when I add this to my collection, I’ll be getting the eBook so I won’t have to fight that.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Prodigy, which hits shelves in January of 2013. I could just gush for ages on this one, but instead I’ll say, go get the book already!\