A terrifying plan began to take shape, and his chest tightened in fear as he realized what he would have to do. But Wells knew there was no other way. To save the girl he loved, he’d have to endanger the entire human race.
FUCK YOU, WELLS. There is another way. You stop being a selfish motherfucker whose brain is located in your fucking penis.
This book is not a dystopian novel of a spaceship society. It's not a post-apocalyptic tale of survival. It's not about the nitty gritty of life within a group of the only humans left in the universe. It's a teenaged romance, where the characters ranging anywhere from 5-9 on the 1-10 scale of idiocy, whose life, whose spaceship colony has been endangered by a boy whose thought process first filters through his dick.
The world building is piss poor and vague, and more of a scenic backdrop to the overwhelming romance-centric plot instead of being the focal point. If you are a reader who prefers their reads to be overwhelmingly romantic to the exclusion of an actual plot: this book is for you.
Summary: We're on a spaceship. It's at least 300 years in the future (not quite sure what happened, nuclear stuff, things went boom? BAM, we're on a boat spaceship. Accept it. There are a lot of criminals. Specifically, more than 100, but 100 criminals (all of them teenagers, ranging from 12 years old to 18) have been sentenced to go repopulate the poisonous Planet Earth to see if it's habitable or still poisoned and deadly to humans due to radiation. This sentence might be a reprieve. It might be a death sentence. Who knows?
Remember the whole "the planet might be deadly" thing? It's still in the air. Who cares?! Our intrepid boy, Wells Jaha, decides to sacrifice himself by committing a stupid and senseless crime in order to become a criminal and get shipped off to earth---potentially sentencing himself to death so he can be with his ONE TWOO WUV. Her name is Clarke. Wells' dad is surprisingly chill about sending his only son off to his death.
We get to hear the stories from the POV of Bellamy, Wells, Clarke as they go to Planet Earth and fall in love. Who will Clarke choose? Will it be dreamy dark, orphaned bad boy Bellamy? Will it be her gorgeous knight in shining armor, who's actually not a knight in shining armor after all, but a knight in emo armor.
He wasn’t the brave knight who’d come to rescue the princess. He was the reason she’d been locked away in the dungeon.
Will they get to observe the sunset on earth? Will they get to hear the lovely, joyful sound of a bird singing and marvel at its musicality? Will they share the first kiss on Earth in over 300 years?
Oh, and one of the narrator is not even on the damn ship.
Wait a minute. They're supposed to be trying to SURVIVE on a potentially hazardous nuclear-damaged planet.
Get out of here. No, really. Get out of here. This isn't the book you want if you want a realistic survival tale.
The Setting: The crucial part to every dystopian novel is the setting, the history, the background. This book takes that concept and tells it, "Fuck you, rationality, you have no place here. I will do whatever the fuck I want and what I want is to completely ignore the background except for the very barest of details because I want this to be a love story overall, and the background is just going to get in the way of the romance."
Truly, this book is just so vague and inconsistent in the development of a believable, compelling setting. The spaceship itself is so completely poorly defined. The ship itself is barely mentioned in any detail. We know there are three colonies on borad, Phoenix, Walden, Arcadia. We don't know how many citizens there are. We can't see the sun and the sunset even though we can see the comet and stars from on board. We don't know how the three separate colonies are sectored up, we don't know how they're sectored up, we don't know their history, or how they became that way. We don't know where the spaceship is orbiting, besides the fact that it takes about 30 minutes to get from the ship to Earth. For some reason, some sectors have more water and resources than others.
There's no background. There is no society. There is no culture.
For a futuristic society, there is a surprising lack of diversity. Two of the main characters (both girls) have reddish-blonde hair.
There's a lack of resource, and because of it, people are killed. So, so many people are killed. Most of them teenagers. The premise is that teenage delinquents are captured for the smallest of infractions---stealing food, for example, and sent to prison, called Confinement. There they stay until they're 18, where they get a Retrial, which is an absolutele joke, because everyone knows that nobody ever, ever gets a Pardon. If you are less than 18, you get sent to prison until you're 18. Then you die. Which doesn't really make any sense when the government of the ship could just sentence the kids to death right away as soon as they're convicted, so save money, resources. And forget about committing a crime over the age of 18. You just get executed right away once you are convicted.
SO. MANY. PEOPLE. ARE. KILLED. It makes no fucking sense. You are also sentenced to die if you have more than one child, under a vague "Gaia Doctrine." It's a wonder there are any people left on the spaceship at all. There is a surprising amount of hatred and resentment between the Waldens and the Phoenicians, which would have been more compelling if shit was actually EXPLAINED.
There is absolutely nothing about the spaceship that's anything beyond an idea of a vaguely futuristic concept. The lack of background is utterly laughable if it wasn't so depressingly superficial.
As for the Earth. Do I really need to explain the preposterousness of it all? We don't even know how the Earth was destroyed, except for some vague notion of a nuclear winter and a war that made the earth go boom. There was some enigmatic concept of an event called the "Pre-Cataclysm," which was, once again, NEVER EXPLAINED IN DETAIL. There was something referred to as "the burning of North America," and that's pretty much all you get on that. Radiation? What radiation. There's an instance of a two-headed deer. Let's just pretend that nuclear fallout is limited to one weird animal and everything is all safe again after a few centuries. Never mind radioactive traces in water and everything, which could last for thousands of years. Science? Fuck that shit. It's all about the romance.
The Romance: Utterly ludicrous. There's 100 kids on board the spaceship sent to earth. They're all kids. They're from 12-18 years old. Some are petty thieves, some aren't criminals at all, some are murderers. Instead of some fucked-up, panedemonic Lord of the Flies situation, we have a few hotheads among a bunch of largely calm kids who just let a rational guy whose father is the Chancellor take over.
Am I supposed to believe that?
And in the midst of romance, there's survival. Wait a minute, that sounds wrong. It's supposed to be, in the midst of survival, there's a romance? No. I said it right the first time. The romance is so incredibly fucking overwhelming. There is a love triangle.
He grabbed on to a branch for balance, gasping as he tried to force air into his lungs. The girl he’d risked his life to protect wasn’t just kissing someone else—she was kissing the hothead who may have gotten his father killed.
There are observations of "Oh, she's sooooooooo pretty." "Look at how the sunlight hits her hair!" in the middle of trying to salvage what's left of the medicine on board the ship. Fuck you! This is supposed to be a dystopian tale! But no! One of the characters---the tough boy, Bellamy---even romanticizes the bags under Clarke's eyes GAG.
He cocked his head to the side and surveyed Clarke quizzically. The skin under her eyes was bruised with exhaustion, but the purple shadows just made them look greener.
Like, what the fuck? And screw the medicine. SCREW THE MEDICINE. Survival is useless if you can't have the one you love!
He didn’t care whether they’d found the missing medicine. There was no drug strong enough to repair a broken heart.
So you'd just let a poor girl die because you're too heartbroken, you selfish prick?
God! There is so much idiocy in the name of love in this book From endangering the entire ship to potentially save a girl to potentially killing yourself so you can be with her to ignoring all common sense. And the girl left on board the spaceship is no better. Her name is Glass (lol wtf, Glass?), she escaped. Instead of running to her mother to say goodbye, Glass goes to see her ex-boyfriend. Glass claims to be "desperate to see her mother," but there's no proof of it because despite the fact that she might be recaptured at any fucking moment, she takes that ONE opportunity to see her ex. Glass is not as sharp as, well...glass.
Glass is in fucking Confinement. She has been for six months. She knows she's going to die. If I knew I was going to die, I'd be thinking of my own mortality, not spending all that time mooning over a boy. As an example of how idiotic Glass's thought process goes, this is what she thinks upon seeing Luke again: "Being Luke’s ex-girlfriend somehow felt odder than being an escaped convict."
This book is too heavy on the romance, to the detriment of the plot. The remnants of the book is rendered utterly unsalvageable by the farcical actions of the main characters. I didn't have any trouble distinguishing between the four narrators, despite the fact that they are overwhelmingly similar in their idiocy. Not recommended, unless you want love shoved down your throat.