What If Your Mind & Body Were No Longer Your Own?
Starters by Lissa Price (book one in Starters series)
Review based on an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC)
In a dystopian world in which only the very old and very young have survived, sixteen-year-old Callie is trying to make it on the streets while taking care of her sick younger brother. After the Spore Wars tore the country apart–only the weakest members of society, old and young, received the limited vaccine and survived–there was a strong division between rich and poor. Starters (the young) have virtually no rights, while Enders (adults age sixty through their hundreds) control all. Callie is an unclaimed Starter, legally unable to take a job and with no surviving parents or grandparents as guardian, giving her and her brother little choice but to squat in abandoned buildings to avoid being rounded up and sent to a terrible institutions.
When Callie hears of a company willing to pay Starters under the table, she ends up at Prime Destinations where, with the technology of a neurochip, Elders can “rent” the bodies of Starters for recreation and be young again. Creepy? Yes. Easy money? So it seems. But when Callie’s neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the middle of a rental–in her own body but with the belongings and credentials of a wealthy Ender–she discovers that she has been rented for a malicious, illegal purpose, and the high-suspense race to the truth begins.
With a pinch of Gossip Girl glitz and glamor and a whole lot of the seedy, gritty underbelly of surviving on the streets (a la The Hunger Games; Ashes, Ashes; and Enclave), this post-apocalyptic novel is also a psychological thriller. Throw in a bit of Joss Whedon’s TV show Dollhouse and you have a good idea of the pieces in play. The beauty of Starters is that author Lissa Price successfully makes the concepts her own, and the fast-pace keeps you going until the end, which in turn leaves you hanging on for the second book. Free will and morality are addressed as well as the responsibilities of society, explorations that abound throughout the high-speed storyline. There is a love triangle of sorts–though complicated–for romance fans, and there are enough twists and turns to surprise even the best plot predictors. Price has created a complicated, sleazy future world in which a young woman is trying to set things right, taking down corrupt politicians and big organizations along the way. Remind of you of anyone? (Name rhymes with “Atniss Everdeen”.) Exactly, and that–along with the originality and suspense in Starters–is why fans of The Hunger Games will enjoy this action-packed and surprising debut.
Enders, the second and final book in Price’s Starters series, is due out December 12th of this year. Keep an eye on the site for our upcoming interview with Lissa Price for information about her ideas, the series, and more.
Copyright March 13, 2012
Image from www.lissaprice.com
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