(The Feuds #1)
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Hardcover, 272 pages, St. Martin’s Griffin
Genres: YA, Dystopian
In this breathless story of impossible love, perfection comes at a deadly cost.
For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or "Imps." A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother's legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears.
Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he's a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father's campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him.
Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold--and Davis's friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her world...in Avery Hastings's Feuds.
Ballet-dancing girls and illegal fighter boys in a segregated futuristic United States sounds like a fantastic story, right? Erm… Well, it was good. But I think it could have been better.
The characters of this dystopian world Hastings has created are unique in their hobbies/professions, but they needed a little more detail in order to be fully relatable and believable. Davis is a ballerina (in-training, but still) with enhanced genetics. And Cole, he’s an illegal, underground fighter in a futuristic society. It really seems like nothing could go wrong with these two types of dynamic characters, but each scene was so short, it was hard to get to know the characters.
It was even harder to get to know them when they started feeling things for each other, because then I wasn’t sure why/how/what feelings had come about. Additionally, the side characters were never given enough scenes or even mentions for me to really care about them at all. Not even Davis’ little sister, who I was hoping to get to know, and whom Davis never directly talked to throughout the entire storyline.
This idea of not being able to connect to the characters extends to the plot, too. Everything was so rushed and nothing was explained like it should have been. I could barely keep up with some of the trails of thought for any of the characters, and if things had just slowed down and taken a couple of pages to explain, I would have had a clearer picture.
It didn’t help that the book was less than 300 pages in length. While a short book is good every once in a while, a futuristic society is hard to get across to the readers when it is supposed to be so divided, dire, and chaotic. Without that extra explanation, readers tend not to care about what is happening in the world, or even understand why it is happening. Plus, the story was told in alternating POVs, Davis’ and Cole’s, so scenes that should have been longer were cut down to get to the other character’s POV in. This was another aspect that hurt the character development. You can’t get to know a character well when they have approximately only 100 pages to tell you who he/she is.
I have to say that the book did redeem itself a little bit at the end. I was pleasantly intrigued by the way the story was going and how realistic and touching Cole’s reaction to a certain event was. I just wish his fights and Davis’ dancing had been given a larger chunk of the story, because that aspect was so ridiculously awesome, but it was never fully delved into.
All in all, if you’re looking for a quick, light, dystopian read that will satisfy your inner reader, then this book might be good for you. However, if you are looking for a well-developed world with detailed and realistic characters, I’d say look elsewhere for now.
*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.