This dystopian YA sounded exactly like something all of us would enjoy, and on Goodreads, 77% of reviewers gave it five stars. I did not. It only got three stars from me, and I have to question the huge difference in opinion, so if you read this book and absolutely adore it, please comment and explain why. Maybe I was cranky that day (you know, because I’m cranky every day) or maybe I don’t know my target audience as well as I thought. Either way, I’m up for some debate about it.
Oceans apart, a young musician and a “special” soldier embark on a perilous journey for home fueled by the unyielding pursuit of freedom from the Authority.
Sixteen-year-old prodigy, Liza Randusky, waits imprisoned, blamed for the undead plague that’s slowly destroying the planet. Banished to an island where she’ll never play her beloved piano again, Liza’s steadfast sense of justice and passion for music may have the power to change her destiny. But will it be enough…
To strike back at the new world order, the troubled son of a preacher, Thomas Ripley-Hatter, suffers unspeakable alterations by the Underground to join a secret Army. Tommy knows that all hope lies in human-weapons like himself, and that somehow he must cling to his sanity…while letting loose the monster to win.
The battle begins for the last-standing sliver of humanity: Anthem.
While this book had lots of things I liked and it had great character development (and even a few zombies!), I just didn’t really enjoy it. It seemed really long even though I read it in a few hours, and when I finished, it was as though too little had been gained for all the effort. I kind of felt like I missed the point. Intellectually, I understood that it followed two dystopian protagonists in the start of a rebellion against the corrupt powers that rule the post zombie world they live in. They play their roles well, functioning to show readers what is wrong with their current society – class disperity, genetic alterations, loss of human empathy, etc. I even liked both of the protagonists and felt a connection to them. They were kind and insightful characters despite the things that had been done to make them less human, so, the “monsters” turned out to be better than their creators and detractors. It was the plot that just didn’t work for me because, in the end, the entire narrative was character and world building. There are scenes of action, and readers even get some pretty exciting zombie fighting sequences, but it just didn’t seem to amount to much. The problem is that while the characters are young adults, the book doesn’t have the faster and plot driven pace of a YA book, so adult readers will probably fare much better with this book than actual teen readers. My high school students will struggle with the conversations between characters. They will also have trouble with the fact that reading all of this book results in only an incremental progress in the story.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review