Greta is a princess but she’s also what’s known as a hostage of peace. In order to rule in the world Greta lives in, a rule must turn over their first born child to be raised in a Precepture school and if that ruler decides to go to war, their child’s life is forfeit. Greta has known that all she has to do is survive until her eighteenth birthday and she would be free. But a new hostage, Elián arrives and Greta’s fate is tied with his as their countries are on the brink of a war. Elián challenges the rules and the machines that Greta has obeyed her whole life and slowly starts to open her mind to a new way of thinking about their situation.
The concept of this book drew me in right away. It sounded like a brutal world and I was interested to see how the idea would be played out in the plot. I was hopeful for a lot of world-building, action, some romance, and friendship. In the end, I think it just wasn’t the right book for me but I think there will be people who enjoy it.
I did like Greta, the main character. She was strong and the little leader of her group of friendships. She didn’t question the rules and was pretty much just waiting until she reached her eighteenth birthday and would be free. She knew her mother loved her but also knew her mother might not have a choice in going to war eventually. She cared about her friends, even knowing they could possibly be taken away at any time, and she reached out to Elián even though his country could be the reason for her death. She was an interesting character.
The other characters, Greta’s friends, lacked the development to really make me care about them. I cared because Greta cared but not because I felt a huge attachment to any of them. Elián was probably the most developed after Greta but I still felt like I knew nothing about him except that growing up outside of the Precepture for most of his life gave him a different attitude than the kids who’d grown up in the school.
The world-building happened slowly. More information was revealed as the book went on but it didn’t feel like enough to get a clear picture of how the world ended up like it did. I didn’t need a whole history lesson but a little more information would have been helpful in understanding this world. I think my main problem with the book was that it felt like it was trying to be two genres at once without fully succeeding in either. It was a cross between dystopian and sci-fi and it could have worked with more development.
The plot was slow moving until near the end. The last quarter of the book had so much action it was hard to keep up but the first three quarters were mostly Greta and her friends and their lives at the school, how Elián disrupted it, lots of foreshadowing, which made it predictable.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.