Author: Heather Anastasiu
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: Personal find
Genre(s): Science Fiction, YA, Dystopia, Fiction, Supernatural
Spoilers: You were warned.
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When you first pick up this book, you better be ready to buckle down for a lot of information in a few short chapters. This book is told from the view point of Zoel, or Zoe as she likes to be called. She lives in the Community, which is essentially a giant under ground compound. Surrounded by muted grays, and living life continuously connected to the Link via a chip inserted to the base of the neck that connects to the brain, everyone in the Compound are pretty much just drones going about their business. However, every so often the v chips will glitch. It happens with technology all the time, and isn’t a big deal. Unless of course it controls your brain and now you can see colors, feel emotions, and find out that there are many more like you.
Zoe is naturally terrified when she first begins to glitch. Anomalies are to be reported so they can be fixed and put back into the community, or deactivated. Instead of reporting her glitch, she tries to hide it. Which is totally understandable because who doesn’t like feeling intense emotions for the first time in your life with no idea on how to control them? Surrounded by a community that is trained to report anything out of the ordinary, Zoe is always on her toes and fearful. While she is in the midst of a full panic attack, she runs in to Adrien. He happens to be a person who also glitched, and is working with an outside resistance. He finds her, takes her to the surface, and to his mom’s safe house. There Zoe has an allergic reaction to essentially air, Adrien’s mom saves her, and a plan is hatched to put both Adrien and Zoe back into the community because apparently getting out alive once was not enough. Let’s keep in mind, all of that happens within the first 107 pages of a 308 page book.
The last two thirds of the book are dedicated to Zoe not remember what just happened due to a memory wipe, finding out that Max is a glitcher, finding other glitchers, and Adrien once again helping everyone escape. Let’s focus on Max for a bit. Max is a guy in the same class as Zoe and has been watching her for a while to find out if she has glitched. Once he is sure she has, he pounces. He tries to explain to her what it is really like feeling everything and what people in the old world did, but his motives are so not pure. Max basically forces Zoe into an abusive, manipulative relationship. Because Max can report her for glitching, Zoe is essentially trapped, and forced to do whatever Max once which includes all the typical teenage boy lust wants. She does however manage to stop him from getting too far, but he’s jealous, unpredictable, and, oh by the way, a shape shifter. He can appear as who ever he wants to be, whenever he wants. Now Zoe has a special gift too, telekinesis, but hers is unreliable and not easily directed.
In the midst of the whole Max-Zoe thing, Adrien shows back up and tells Zoe he can get them, and everyone who is glitching, out and to the resistance where they can live in relative safety and freedom. Zoe is all about leaving the Community, but not without helping as many as she can. Thus enters the love triangle. Zoe has real feelings for Adrien, who has feelings back, but she’s also tied to controlling Max who is super jealous of Adrien. If we had cut out the horrible Max, made him just a simple double agent, and not a serious douche bag, this story would have been a bit more enjoyable. Anyway, Adrien saves the day by giving them a plan to break out. Zoe is all for it, and they manage to collect the other known glitchers. Along the way they find out the Chancellor is a glitcher, and she wants to create a super army of gifted glitchers. She’s also the one who is really in control of Max. They rush through a fight with her, and her drones. Save the drones, and everyone is safe for now. Well, momentarily. Remember that allergic reaction that Zoe had back in the first third of the book? Well, she had been given shots to reduce the reaction, but then the Chancellor injected her with a cocktail of allergens to make her super allergic to the surface. So basically, Zoe is once again allergic to basically everything.
While this book wasn’t my favorite book ever, it’s still an okay book. It’s a really quick read, which is good if you have an afternoon with nothing to do. My main issues with this book is how much information is dumped on you when you first start reading, and then how ridiculous everything gets after that. Another issue is the use of pseudo curse words. We get it, you want to have the effect of cussing, but you don’t actually want to use the big four lettered words. That’s fine and dandy, but we all know what you really wanted to type, and using your fake cuss words over and over again to where that’s basically all the sentence is made of just makes me want to roll my eyes and toss the book down. T he whole love triangle is insanity. Without it, the book would be more enjoyable, and less painful to read through. Giving the kids super powers is pretty cool. It gave a little more flavor to the book, but felt very X-Men. Now, don’t read this wrong. It isn’t a “bad” book, or even a “super sucky” book. It is what it is. A very fast, bit misguided, science fiction ya that tries just a little too hard. It wasn’t completely not enjoyable, and it is nice to be able to finish a book in a short amount of time. Keep in mind, there are two other books to this series! Override and Shutdown