Over the last year I have sat there and reviewed all of Joss's YA books, and even had the thrill of interviewing the lovely lady herself. When the author put out on Facebook a few weeks ago, looking for a 'super team' of reviewers and fans to look at her brand new book before it publishes. I couldn't not apply. With a small team of only 50 I didn't expect to be picked, so I am truly honoured that I have been allowed to write this review.
Joss has decided to go in a new direction with her new series. Not only is Joss self-publishing, to feel closer to and gain more feedback from her long-standing fan-verse. She has also taken a much more dystopian point of view in the new ideas. Although you don't' know a great deal about what has happened to the world, you do know that a large amount of the country is under water. As well as all young adults have to do two years of eco service before they can go to college. A full on national service. The book is based all around London, giving a deep real feeling vibe to the locations. I would actually be interested to hear more about what happened to put the world in this state through later books.
This book revolves around a young woman called Meri. A girl who has been on the run since she was four. After her parents hid her, before disappearing. She is now in the care of a guardian, a young man called Theo. Who does his best for them, but doesn't have much money. SO they are always struggling for school supplies and so on. Meri isn't like other people, she sees things. Colours are brighter, more vivid, she sees hazes that normal people can't. Something Theo makes her wear a special pair of glasses to correct. As he does everything he can to keep her safe from whoever or whatever took her parents away.
Things change when Meri starts to come of age, tired of hiding and being quiet. The 'Mouse' as people at school think of her. She ends up snapping at some boys on the bus to school. Making Kel start to pay attention to her. Even more so, when her art teacher tells her that her painting is rubbish. As she can't see it the way that Meri can. Who painted it sans glasses. Kel, however, can, starts to wonder if she is one of the lost ones of his own race. He offers to buy the painting from her, so she can buy a fresh canvas. Reporting back to his people that she may be a suspect. He is told to keep 'an eye' on her, see what he can discover.
What no one expects is that not only does Kel start to fall for her, but Meri herself is something far more than just 'one of them'. As she starts to unravel her birthright, through messages her parents have left for when she comes of age. Now not only Meri but Theo and Kel are in danger.
This was a very different book from the author's usual style. Fresh, interesting, although we know it is going to end up as a love story. It shows fantastic characterisation as the pair go from strangers to friends, in love, back to strangers from a distance before meeting again much later to try and sort things. The storyline is interesting, engaging, although the ultra fast pace of the early chapters do make the body of the text seem much slower when the reveals start. However that is the nature of previews, so these things will be resolved before the release date on the 13th of July. I look forward to seeing more from Kel, Meri, and this series.
Early purchasers can for one day only, gain the ebook version of this for 99/99c on release day.
Sarah Beth James