*This review contains some minor spoilers*
Terrified of the contamination and the creatures it has created, humanity hides behind The Wall. No one knows what lies beyond the wasteland. Maya has never thought much about what might still be out there, lurking in the forgotten places. But when she’s thrust into the unknown, she is forced to question everything she has ever been told. Not everyone outside died, some of them became something… else. As her heart is torn in two, every choice she makes is harder than the last. What she discovers will change her forever. She knows she will probably die, but Maya has seen enough of death and she won’t let it have her without a fight.
I really liked the story and setting of this book. The idea of The Wall and the city that lives inside it was truly interesting. There were just a few things that stopped me giving this 4 or 5 stars.
Before I get to those, I’m going to talk about what I did enjoy about this book. I already said it, but I absolutely loved the setting and society that was created. It was complex and constructed in a very thoughtful way. I really enjoyed the first part of the book, when Taylor and Maya got to explore outside The Wall. I loved reading their reactions to all the different things they found, things that are so common today. From there, I thought the whole SubWar thing was pretty good, though there were a few aspects surrounding it that bothered me (more on that later).
Similar to at the start of the book, I loved it when Maya got to experience the outside world after escaping SubWar. I do wish we got to see more of Kaloo (who was absolutely adorable), but that’s just the major dog-lover in me talking. I thought the description of the Creepers was great, particularly how they came to be and again when they showed up in the final third of the book.
I found Maya to be a really good narrator. I didn’t exactly love her, but I liked her well enough. I loved Alicia as a character, and her sisterly relationship with Coal. She was a really tough character, but not in a way that didn’t make much sense. She seemed very realistic for the setting, and how she had grown up. For the most part, I liked all the characters in the book (or at least the ones that are meant to be liked), which is always a bonus.
Now, unfortunately, there were quite a few things that rubbed me the wrong way in this book. One of the main ones is the fact the Taylor was unconscious for half the book. It felt like lazy writing to me, to just conveniently put him to one side, allowing Coal and Maya to (predictably) get together. I think Maya and Taylor’s relationship would have been really interesting to explore. And that’s not even mentioning what could have happened with him and Laurie…
Earlier in the book, the whole thing with Grey during SubWar seemed quite forced. The way he was so interested in Maya felt important. It gave me the impression that there was some deeper reason for it (my guess was that he had known her parents or something like that). At the very least, I expected an explanation for it, but there was none.
The character of Coal also seemed a bit forced, particularly his relationship with Maya. When they first met and he was super interested in her and vice versa, I was a little disappointed. I had expected a little less cliché with this book, and was saddened to see it appear in this way. The whole “love at first sight” thing is not really something I like reading. Coal also seemed a bit aggressively protective of her, which bothered me a little.
I know I’ve just listed a whole lot of complaints, but at the end of the day, I did enjoy this story. I really enjoyed the world that was created, but some of the details surrounding the characters just weren’t really my taste. I do recommend you check it out if you’re into dystopias.
Huge thanks to Susanne for providing me with an ARC for this book 😀