Author: Teri Terry
Released: May 3rd 2012
Pages: 448 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
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Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.
She’s been Slated.
The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?
This book is the typical Society-takes-away-human-rights scenario - except with an interesting twist. Being Slated originated from "wiping the slate clean" - it's basically intentionally-induced amnesia. Kyla wakes up, and literally has no clue about what's going on; as the reader, we go into this novel as blind as Kyla is, meaning that instead of just reading her story, we are taken along for the ride beside her.
I don't really know what I was expecting from this book. The concept was like nothing I've ever come across before, but a lot of unique dystopian novels have reoccurring themes. Already I could see that the Society was brutal and intimidating - guards patrolling areas, reminding me of The Hunger Games' Peacekeepers - but Kyla wasn't anything at all like Katniss. Dystopian heroines are often feisty and full of spirit, wanting to break the law and fight; Kyla was the complete opposite. She was all small and slight and compact and gorgeous - though of course she doesn't know that because of her modesty - and she's just so...accepting. I understood that this was a part of the Slating process - it wipes everything so you are literally a smiling fool - but as the protagonist who is "different" (and will obviously lead some kind of rebellion at some stage) it was just very bland. Quick spoiler alert, but whenever she fought it just didn't match with her personality at all. Maybe that was what Terry wanted to get across, but it just didn't work for me.
The other female characters were all designed to make Kyla look better. Tori - the one character who was beautiful and had the typical rebellion-leader personality - was typically horrid and didn't get the guy because he was obviously in love with Kyla. It was all just so cliché! Not that Ben - the so called "guy" - was that great either. I love YA novels where the reader can also fall in love with the romantic interest - I want the chemistry to be alive and practically flying off the page. Ben and Kyla? It was as dull as her personality. I wasn't interested in her, him, or them together.
Despite the poor characterisation, the book was pretty good. As I had thought, the concept did prove for an interesting storyline, and the chapters just seemed to fly by. There was constantly a question on the tip of my tongue, and Terry quickly answered most of them. Notice the use of "most" - although I have the sequel, Fractured, ready and waiting to be read, the ending of the book was a bit disappointing. We were left on a cliffhanger, and a horrible one at that - not because it built tension, but because it was so confusing. For the last 100 pages, the pace completely picked up, and I didn't have enough time to understand what was going on before something else happened. I'm now left wondering what the heck has happened, and what the roles of all these different people are - and Kyla, she's the biggest mystery of all. Her personalities just didn't match.
I also loved the idea of a Levo - a device strapped to a Slated's wrist that measures their happiness. It completely intrigued me, and I loved how the different scenarios affected Kyla's mood and Levo. It was a unique twist on security cameras and keeping an eye on people.
If we put characterisation and plot pace aside, the biggest problem I had was Terry's writing style. At first I thought maybe it was just the mood I was in, that I was tired and reading things funny - but no. There were several points where I had to reread strangely-constructed sentences before it made sense. It just wasn't smooth, and some phrases were really overused; I don't know how many times Kyla "jumped" from people speaking to her, but she was like a high rabbit.
I guess the whole review seems rather negative, and I've focused on those points because they were the things that ruined the book for me. It has had too much hype, I think, and I built my hopes up for this to be some extraordinary read, when it was just ordinary. However, I stick by saying that the concept was good, and if you love the dystopian genre, then you should definitely pick it up.