What. Was. This. Story.
Short recap: In the not so distant future, the Government holds “lotteries” and families can win a chance to have their unborn child enhanced. Not everyone appreciates being normal compared to The Ones. As a result, laws are changed, rules are put in place, and bad things happen.
I have such a deep love for dystopians that I was genuinely excited to read this story. It is not so far fetched to think something like this might happen in the future. I can see it happening, but not in the way this author portrayed. The entire story felt underdeveloped. The characters were dull and lifeless, while the plot jumped all over the place. Let’s start with the characters. Cody and James. Both grew up as a One, someone special with additional advantages their peers didn’t have. It was not clearly defined what being a One meant, other than they were “enhanced” and “engineered”. Did they possess superhuman strength? Were they brilliant? Could they speak every language without studying? WHO KNOWS. It was only said they had “certain advantages others did not.” Uh… how about you vague that up for me next time. If you want me to believe there is a superhuman race, give me something more to go on. James and Cody were supposed to be special snowflakes. It comes out that Cody is not actually a One, her mom lied. And? She proved she could handle herself just as well as a One so what really is so special about them? Nobody will know because it is never talked about. That topic is never discussed. As a result, I couldn’t care less what happened to Cody. All I knew about her is that she’s a girl who liked a boy. No big shocker there. And James… he was a One and he had a brother that accidently died. Don’t hope for more info on that because you won’t get it. The author won’t ever go into more detail so don’t sit around begging for answers. And the only thing I knew about Cody and James as a couple was that they liked to kiss and make out in the library.
The overall story started out rather well, but it went downhill fast. Cody (when she is thought to be a One) is recruited by a rogue group of Ones to help cause chaos, whoopty doo. They take over the school “until their demands are met”. I’m not entirely sure but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s not the best way to handle things. What comes of their takeover? Nothing. The story continues to make just as much sense. It felt all over the place and I gave up trying to make sense of it all. It read like the author was telling himself, “I have to include all of these points NO MATTER WHAT!” Too much, Sweren-Becker, too much. Pick one topic and define that. I zoned out what was going on after the school event because it seemed like things would just continue to get more bizarre. Apparently they did but I only remember small parts. I started skimming to finish and when I skim, that means I’m not invested.
As I mentioned, I wanted to enjoy this book, I really did but I could not connect to anyone or anything. The characters were grossly underdeveloped and the plot had holes I could drive a truck through. It was a scattered mess of a story and I desperately wanted more. So much more. This book had great potential for being a really good dystopian but fell flat. This is just the first book in the series but I will say now that I won’t be picking up the second book. I don’t care enough to find out what happens.