Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

Summary from Goodreads:
The future world is at peace.

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

So who can she trust?
Sadly, I did not love this book. I am a huge Beth Revis fan. I loved her other YA Sci-fi series, and I was excited for something new from her. Unfortunately, this book just didn’t feel very new…I think one of the things I loved best about her other books were how unique they were. This one kind of just felt like a whole bunch of other YA books that already exist.
Maybe it’s also that I am beginning to get really tired of the whole unreliable main character thing, who may or may not be remembering things correctly. On the other hand, there are some classic YA storylines I don’t get bored with. I think my thing is if an author is going to write a story I have read many times before, he/she better not only write it well, but also write it with a unique take. Unfortunately, nothing really seemed that new to me. And I found some of the writing to actually be confusing.
There were at least 3 different times where it felt like the author accidentally put a sentence in too early (like she was referencing something that already happened –but it was still a few pages from actually happening). Normally, I don’t really mention editing mistakes on my blog. But I felt like this happened several times, and I’m not 100% sure if it was an editing mistake, or what. All I know is it took me away from the story and I was confused.
I also never really cared for any of the characters. The main character was very focused on figuring her life out and making sure she was on the right side of things. But, I never felt like there was any depth to her. I never knew her. What were her hobbies? What did she used to do for fun with her mom (before the illness)? What were some good memories of her with her father? And while I wanted to know the romantic interest because he seemed so interesting, I never really felt like I knew him either.
I did really enjoy the world-building in this one though. It was such a cool sounding world. The economic divide made the whole thing very believable. And the idea of higher classes being at the top of the island, and the lower classes on the bottom (literally on the water) was interesting. The whole scene with the main character trying to out-run the government in the lower section, by hopping from boat to boat was pretty epic. However, it did remind me a little of the hierarchy system from The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johson. I did really feel like I was seeing this world and I found myself getting lost (in a good way) in its description.
The world-building in this book was excellent. However, I wasn’t impressed by much else. It took me over a week to read this (!) I didn’t really feel like I ever knew any of the characters very well. And, I also feel like I’ve seen it all before. I wanted more of the uniqueness I came to expect from this author. I give it a 4/10.

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