Sunday, 19 January 2014

Review ~ Enders ~ Lissa Price

Title: Enders

Author: Lissa Price

Published: 7th January 2014

By: Random House Children's Publishing

Source: netgalley.

Synopsis: Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael - teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations -With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn't want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life - but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena's memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?

No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.

And so we reach the dramatic conclusion for Callie, Michael et al. I actually bought Starters when it came out as I was drawn to the cover and then to the synopsis. Then it sat on my shelf for ages.  Until that is I was given a copy of Enders and then wow did I regret not reading Starters sooner.  There's an underlying hint at the death of humanity in both stories that makes the plotline a little bit darker I think.  It's interesting that the Elders don't see the Starters as the opportunity to start again post spore wars but more as an opportunity to selfishly experience life again themselves.  It's like the human spirit has deserted those who are left behind and in power, replaced by greed and disregard for the sanctity of life. This effect understandably trickles down to the next generation and it can be seen in the relationships between all the main characters over the course of the two instalments. The links forged between them and their forefathers and the issues that each brings to the table as a result make for a fast paced and intricate plot with more than a few curve balls thrown in for good measure.

It's a bit of a case of just when you thought things couldn't get any worse with Enders.  Having gotten rid of Prime Destinations at the end of Starters you'd think everything would be lovely and rosy in the Callie garden. But no.  Callie can still be controlled via her chip even whilst conscious in her own body which makes her the worst kind of weapon.  She could in essence be commanded to commit murder, even to murder her loved ones, and do it consciously without ever having the ability to prevent her body from doing so.  Nasty eh? And enough of a reason for the old gang to reform and to finally put an end to those who still want control of the starters who still carry the chip in their heads.

We have old characters, new characters, the arrival of previously heard of characters and the death of characters in Enders.  Callie seems a little less kickass in the sequel, as though things have now gotten to be too much for her and I guess you can kind of see why at times.  Various things happen that do eat away at her as the plot develops. Then of course there's the obligatory romance, or in this case, a serious of possible contenders for...  I have to say I took a liking to Hyden, even though he's the grandson of The Old Man and even though he does something which seems to fly in the face of the whole cause just to get some lip action.

The final scenes in this booked are pretty action packed and I thought it was a pretty fitting ending. In some ways.  There are some pretty cool twists in here as people switch sides and loyalties are challenged.  It does mean that right until the end you aren't 100% sure as to how things are going to work out and I do like that in a finale. I'm also glad this was a two parter.  Price could have stretched it out, turning it into the usual trilogy but to do so would have weakened the story I think.  The two books together pack quite a punch and I'm glad I got round to reading them.

4/5 - A more than worthy follow up to it's predecessor and a fantastic conclusion to the story.

p.s. Incidentally, the cover of the galley that I got for review in the UK was different to the cover of the paperback I received. The paperback cover I much prefer as it ties back to the Starters cover.  You can see the different cover here on this weeks Stacking the Shelves.


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