Friday 20 February 2015

Book Review - Starters

Author: Lissa Price
Series: Starters #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian | Young Adult
Release Date: 13th March 2012
Publishers: Delacorte
No. Pages: 384
Source: Gifted
You can’t get them out of your head.

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie.

Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders - seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter.

Callie soon discovers that her renter intends to do more than party - and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than she could ever have imagined

I have to confess to being surprisingly impressed with Starters. It's not that I had really low expectations, or that I'd heard terrible things about the series, in fact, it was quite the opposite, I'd heard hardly anything about the series, nor seen much about it in the community, other than one of my trusted blogging friends Charnell hadn't quite liked it, hence the book found it's way into my hands, and I'm really pleased that it did. It's not the strongest of debuts I've ever read, nor is it a good example of dystopians, but it was a positively good read.

The premise itself was something I'd never read before and I do think it was explored really well. The idea of planting somebody's mind into somebody elses body is definitely something I've never read about before, and it's definitely something in a market all of it's own. Was it done well though? There were flaws in the premise, the body being able to keep hold of experiences it's learnt was a little strange to accept, considering the reason you remember things is with your mind, there being very little backlash involved when it comes to coming in and out of conscious, either it's a very good piece of technology, or it's not entirely believable, and the actual overhaul towards the end of the novel that saw Callie take on the system, it felt too easy and unlikely - all technology has flaws and faults, I doubt it would have ended so easily - and I doubt everybody would have played ball too. The world too wasn't that well developed, there were weak points and things about that I felt, even in this world, would never have been allowed to happen, neither do I honestly feel as though something like it could have happened. Scratch that, I think the premise of this novel could occur, but with a lack of information about what the actual 'Spore Wars' were, I don't think I fully understand the reasonings and answers behind things.

What I really did enjoy about Starters was that it was so easy to read, so easy to enjoy, and it's characters and mystery was so easy to get behind, and that's what I think is lost on people who haven't read Starters, the mystery woven into this novel and this series is really good. Not knowing who to trust, not knowing who people are, damn, not knowing anything about anyone, that's a scary world, it's unsafe world, and the mystery behind the face of Prime Destinations, The Old Man, it's definitely enough to see me wanting to continue and finish the series. Callie, and many of the other characters are another reason I enjoyed this novel as much as I did. Callie was a strong, independent character, with a real sense of humanity to her, she didn't take peoples word, she didn't trust blindly, and she fought hard for what she believed in, for what she wanted, for who she loved. You can not connect to a character like that sometimes, or too well, but I couldn't fault her. She felt real, and her feelings and emotions and actions and tendencies and personality, they all felt really good. Other characters, Helena, whom we never actually got to meet, she was a wonderful addition, as was Sara and Michael, even Blake too, although I never really felt the romance between himself and Callie. The cast of characters and the personalities they had, they might not have been explored brilliantly, but I enjoyed them all the same.

It's not the most perfect of novels. The world is flawed, which is a cross in the classic dystopian box, but the premise and plot was really good, and the mystery element brought something to the table. Hell, even the very subtle nods to Cinderella, making this in my eyes, a really slight retelling, was just ingenious, with the make-over, the event, the lost shoe, it really was so subtle, but so good. Price's characters were good, they were easy to read about and I really did enjoy Starters. I do hope and would like to continue the series and see just how Callie's story ends, find out who The Old Man is, get some answers to the mystery and see a happy ending. It's not your next 'Hunger Games', but it's definitely not a bad read.


  1. I read this sooo long ago I've basically forgotten it. xD I gave it 2-stars but I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHY. GAH. (I think I was grossed out by the ending, since she was kind of "in love" with you-know-who who was particularly old. heh.) Are you reading the sequel? I probably will never get to it.

    1. I hadn't considered that point..that is a little gross, whoops! I really would like to read the sequel, it's a book I keep checking the price for, so hopefully in the next few months, I can get a copy! :)

  2. I found this very easy to read and get through, but I think the flaws I found in the general story was what bothered me. It did make me want to read the sequel though, but I enjoyed that even less. I'm glad this one worked better for you though and I'm really hoping you get to read the sequel. I'd be interested to see if you enjoy it, it's as easy and quick a read as the first.

    1. I think I liked that it was so quick and easy to read, and I really liked the plot itself. I agree, there were flaws and it all happened very quickly, but generally, it wasn't too bad. Hope the sequels good :)

  3. I really enjoyed this book! (but confession: it's been a few years and I *still* haven't read Enders! *makes note to finally get that done). I do remember that one of the characters had my name in it which was uncommon to find. Lovely review Amanda :)

    1. Thanks Eugenia, I'm hoping to get to Ender's soon, one day, when it's not too expensive and not got an ugly cover.. hopefully! :)


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