DNF at 73% because getting through every page became a struggle. I know I might get backlash for writing a review on a DNF but I feel justified. And I will give a star rating as I made it way over 50%. Just think if everyone who disliked a book enough to not finish refuses to review, the actual opinions of readers is not reflected in the average star rating. One last point in my defense, I NEVER DNF a book. Honestly I had to create a whole new shelf just for this book.
I'm going to start off by saying this book should have been a definite hit with me. YA dystopian fiction is a genre I read heavily. The book features an oppressive government, ludicrous laws, and a unique enough world to make me want to dive in. Despite all of the factors that usually equate to a book I love this particular one fell flat for me very early on. I kept holding out hope that it would turn into something I could enjoy but that never happened. In fact it took me 13 days just to get this far in the book because I couldn't read more than a chapter at a time without cringing. I honestly hope I don't sound harsh because I just want my opinions represented to my followers, that's why I started a blog in the first place.
Let's start out this discussion with the difficult subject of Ember. Ember is one of the most self-important, naive, and overall infuriating characters in the entirety of YA fiction. The entire first half of the book all Ember can manage to do is obsess over her mother, go back and forth on her feelings for Chase, and screw up in every way possible. Why do I find obsessing over her mother so bad? I shouldn't but the book did a very poor job of making me care about their relationship. I can deal with Ember being motivated but it became overkill. At some point you need to switch to actions rather than repeating “I had to get to my mother. That was my only priority,” for the hundredth time. Next up the relationship, Ember is mistrusting of someone who has given up everything for her. She criticizes him and risks getting them caught because she can't keep her temper in check. The I hate him but I love him crap got old so quick. The main reason I quit was the characters and specifically the fact that most of their interaction was just them stammering and over analyzing how the other might react. Finally the sheer stupidity of Ember at times was just way too much for me. She got mad because Chase protected her and nearly killed someone who was ready to kill them for a backpack, are you kidding me? She literally thought, and I quote, “I knew what he was capable of, he needed to know the same about me.” This was after he saved her life for about the fourth time. From what I could tell the only thing Ember was capable of is getting those around her in trouble and acting like a child.
I think what makes me most angry is the fact that Chase was actually a compelling character. It felt like she put all this effort into making him realistic when the lead wasn't. Simmons proved she could write a good character through Chase so why didn't she with Ember? I would have much much much rather read a book through his eyes. I think I would have actually enjoyed it had it been written that way. Chase was interesting where Ember was painful as a character with only one redeeming quality, she cared. Unfortunately she used caring as an excuse to ignore everyone she put in danger along the way. Meaning that her one redeeming quality could ultimately be seen as a huge flaw.
Oh wow I rambled on so far and didn't even hit all the points I meant to. Well I felt genuinely bad about disliking the book so much but there are obviously plenty of people who loved it. Hopefully if you pick it up you fall into that category instead. Personally, I will not be finishing this book and definitely won't continue with the series. Sorry Kristen Simmons, you seem nice and I do plan to read The Glass Arrow. Hopefully I love that and can give it a glowing review so I feel like less of a jerk!