Welcome to the wasteland.
The citizens of Prin don’t have the problems that plague typical teens. At 15, they marry. At 17, they reproduce. And at 19, they die.
There’s also the looming threat of rampant disease, acid rain, starvation, and brutal attacks by the variants – hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin.
Esther thinks that there’s more to life than toiling under the relentless sun. Her best friend is a variant, and she longs to join the fringe community, to escape the judgment of Levi, the corrupt ruler who controls the Source. When a mysterious stranger named Caleb arrives in town, shady pasts begin to unravel, and the two rebels realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.
Wasteland is the thrilling first book in a fast-paced trilogy with high stakes…of life or death.
First Sentence: Esther ran across the broken asphalt.
I received an ARC of Wasteland through ARCycling. Thank you ARCycling! (:
Wasteland, Wasteland, Wasteland. I had such high hopes for it, partly because of the awesome title and partly because I wanted to find a dystopian novel or series that I would absolutely love. After reading Wasteland, I can safely say that that still hasn’t happened yet. Wasteland was such a disappointing read, with so many things I didn’t like.
Right from the very first chapter, I knew that I wouldn’t enjoy reading Wasteland. Esther, one of the main characters in the book, was simply a selfish brat. First of all, instead of doing work to survive like all the other kids her age, plus kids even younger than her, Esther sneaks off from work to play a game. A game. In a place where children starve to death, disease run rapid, and acid rain fall, Esther sneaks off of work to play a freaking hide-and-seek race game, expecting to live and leech off her older sister for free. No girl, just no. She was immediately added to my “Heroines I Hate List.”
When Esther had drawn the Harvesting as her assignment at the last lottery, she’d cursed her luck. Then she ignored the task and instead headed to the overgrown fields and vacant lots to play with Skar. (ARC 11)
Wasteland is told using eight different point of views: Esther, Eli, Skar, Caleb, Sarah, Levi, Micah, and Kai. (I’m not sure if Wasteland is exactly told using eight point of views, there might be more. It was too much to keep track of.) The most annoying thing of all is that the book switches between different characters’ point of view without any warning, sometimes even doing so three times in the same chapter. I will be reading a chapter told from Esther’s point of view, when suddenly, two paragraphs pop up telling us the story from Eli’s point of view, then goes back to telling us the story from Esther’s point of view. It was very confusing to read and ruined the flow of the book.
The world-building in Wasteland was also done half-way. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan describes some things, like why variants are the way they are, but never explained many other things, like why anyone over the age of 19 dies, why the weather is the way it is, who made the rules, and how the world in Wasteland came to be. To make matters even worse, the world-building was mainly done using info-dump. (At least it wasn’t info-dumped on us all at once.)
“But you are Shunned,” he said. He spoke not with concern, but with hostility. “If anyone were to for you, this is the first place they would try. Your presence can only bring trouble for my partner.” (ARC 165)
To make matters even worse, I even saw the plot twists in Wasteland coming from a mile away. They were so easy to predict and guess because there were some really glaringly obvious clues. When the big reveals came, I nearly jumped off my seat and shouted, “Really? It took you that long to figure out something as simple as that?”
With any luck, she would soon find it and bring it back to him, as trusting and unquestioning as a dog. And just as easily satisfied, with a little affection and a good meal. (ARC 55, 56)
There’s really nothing positive I can say about Wasteland. It slightly entertained me, but at the same time, Wasteland also bored me. Nothing about it was unique and brings something new to the dystopian genre. Wasteland is just one of the typical dystopian books that explains almost nothing about its world and could have been a lot better.
I think I should really avoid reading books that make only the children at a certain age survive for whatever reason in a dystopian world from now on. First Gone, a book I couldn’t even finish, then Taken, a book that greatly annoyed me, and now Wasteland. Yep, this topic is definitely not the one for me.
I don’t think I have to say that I definitely don’t recommend Wasteland to anybody, right? I will also definitely not be checking out the rest of the trilogy, if there is even one.