Published by HarperCollins (11.12.2019)
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 384 pages
Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship.
But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family. With a dying father to think of, Astrid is desperate to prevail.
From the beginning, the race is filled with twists and turns. One of them is Darius, a fellow racer Astrid meets but isn’t sure she can trust. Though they team up in the race, as Astrid’s memories begin to resurface, she remembers just who he was to her—a scorned foe who may want revenge. Astrid also starts to notice she has powers no Outsider should—which could help her win the race, but also make her a target if anyone finds out. With stakes that couldn’t be higher, Astrid must decide what is more important: risking her life to remember the mysteries of the past, or playing a cutthroat game in order to win her—and her family’s—freedom.
To be honest, I don’t remember much of this book. I put off reviewing this because after finishing I felt meh about the book and didn’t have much to say about it, so I just never wrote a review. And now I’ve already forgotten a lot of it, even though I just read it two months ago. It just wasn’t a memorable story.
Actually, it was quite generic. Super bland, basic dystopian. It felt a lot like a Hunger Games knock off View Spoiler »(even down to the ending, with the race *conveniently* having two winners) « Hide Spoiler, without the emotional attachment or the believability. (Sure, HG seems kinda farfetched, but this one was even more so.) It takes place in regular society, with the citizens that lived there. No isolated or controlled environment. And it just didn’t really make sense here. The citizens are forbidden to help the racers, and obviously they stick to that rule for everyone except the main character. And the citizens just put up with the racers stealing from them and dying in front of them. Because who doesn’t love a little murder on their front porch in the morning, amirite?
The concept of the magic and the different types was interesting, but seemed kind of out in left field in comparison to the gritty dystopian-esque world. It reads as a dystopian, but it has fantasy elements (magic) and the setting is high fantasy? There are some cases where a mash-up of dystopian and HF works, but this one didn’t for me.
I also felt absolutely nothing for the story or the characters. I wasn’t the least bit invested in any of it. There was plenty of action and stuff happening, but it wasn’t overly exciting. I can’t say that I was bored, but the pacing felt rather slow for a high stakes race. This is one of those books where I enjoyed while I was reading (even though I had to suspend belief and forget the other 93485 stories that read almost exactly the same), but it didn’t stick with me after I finished.
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 2/5
Ah, it sounds like this was just one of the mediocre run of the mill books which is okay enough to read, but not good enough to really remember and stand out in the long run. I am sorry you couldn’t love it more in the end :/ I thought the surrogate idea was intriguing but it doesn’t seem to hold much interest…
Olivia-S @ Olivia’s Catastrophe