Originally posted: 2nd of February
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.
I did like this book very much; I like the world the author has created and the characters within it. Charlie is a very likeable character, her friends are very interesting, her parents are what parents should be and her little sister is so cute, but I also had a few problems with it.
The world that it is set in is very clever. I am a big believer in knowledge being power and in this world that idea rings true. Charlie has a supernatural ability to understand all the languages she hears and in a world where the language you speak defines your class system that is a very powerful ability, but also an incredibly dangerous one as Charlie constantly risks her secret being exposed by understanding more than she should and not looking away when she is spoken to in a higher ranking language, which could mean a death sentence.
The ideals of this world were very interesting to me, it was like an extreme of our society, where you cannot ever escape the class you are born into and everyone knows exactly what class you are in by what you wear and how you speak. I also liked the idea that the women monarchs were the ones in control and men were seen as irrelevant. Obviously I would not want a society where women rule over men but it is interesting to see the roles reversed from our society (complain all you want the western world is still male dominated.)
I liked how Charlie acted around Max, she was not an insta-love girl, she even got plenty angry at him for lying to her and kept pushing him away; more worried about her friends and family then some strange boy interested in her, but I felt like Max was a very insta-love character and I didn’t understand his need to protect her from the second he saw her, even though the reasoning is explained (it felt like a bit of a cop out).
I liked how the book switched from characters perspective, and not just the girl and her love interest but other important characters. It gave the book a more ‘this is an epic dystopian novel about a revolution ‘ feel rather than a ‘this is a novel about a girl falling in love with a guy while a war rages around them’ I don’t know why but the latter has never really appealed to me, I like romance, but I prefer characters to be involved in the war rather than their relationships be the driving force behind a war.
So in general I really liked this book, it is a young adult book which fits into the sci-fi/ dystopian/ fantasy genres and does it well. Although I do feel like it did it a bit fast and there could have been more time for some character development. The twist you find out about Charlie is not a particularly original one and I would have preferred it if the book had had another reasoning but whatever. This book is definitely worth a read; however I will say one thing and I hope I’m not alone in thinking this, why the bloody hell is It getting a sequel? I mean really. You don’t need to make a trilogy just because everyone else is doing it. This would have been a great standalone book or even a book in a series about the world but not with the same characters all the time. But alas the trend of trilogies continues. At least there wasn’t a love triangle.