“How much worse would the world be if everyone was colour-coded? If people thought they could tell someone’s essence at a glance, and discrimination became purely thoughtless? … Maybe people wouldn’t spend so much time making sure they acted, sounded and thought the same as their neighbours, if they weren’t terrified of being mistaken for the wrong sign. Maybe they’d realise how arbitrary it truly was.”
This was such a tricky debut novel. The premise was incredibly unique and intriguing that it almost became difficult for the author to live up to the expectations of the plot. Not to say that all debut crime novels are crap but this was such a complex story that I think only really experienced writers like Stephen King or even Gillian Flynn could have shaped it into what it was supposed to be.
I was initially attracted to this book because of the front cover and because the idea of a society where you are segregated by your star sign is a really interesting and unique twist on a look at modern society. Plus I love a crime thriller and had read some good things about this already.
To my disappointment, I felt this started off really slow. I almost couldn’t get into it, but I decided to push myself to continue reading. Only at around 30 – 40% did I finally start to enjoy this. I think a big problem for me was the writing. I often found it a bit clunky and overly descriptive, plus a few spelling and grammar mistakes threw me off. (I hope there’s a lot of proofreading before this gets published!)
Though the plot got better, more fast paced and more exciting I still found it difficult to like any of the characters. Burton was a little pretentious and overly insecure. Lindi was as useful as a medium. Mendez was a little bitch. Daniel was mopey and selfish. Cray was your typical dislikable teen gangster. Bram was needy and childish. Maria was supposed to be a kind character but all she did was resent her job and her life. Maybe I’m being a little harsh but I found it difficult to like or relate to any of them.
I felt there was a lot left unsaid when it came to the characters too. Like what happened between Burton and his wife? They were completely fine and loved up one minute and then the next he was saying “he knew she was separating from his life”, but why? Also after the whole Bram thing, he said ”Justice was coming for them all” but again, when did that happen in the novel?
Unfortunately I predicted the twist before the 50% mark, I don’t think it was that hard to guess, so that took away some of the excitement of finding out what was going on and getting our killers motive. By the time we find out who our killer is and the Aries people are rising up it all got too confusing for me. There was too much going on in each scene that my mind couldn’t focus on any of it!
I’ve given this 3 stars because there was a good story line there and at times some quite nice writing but it was a mediocre book in my mind, not particularly memorable.
On another note, the Ram Squad reminded me of the all the different gangs in Saints Row and the entire Ariesville had a very Gotham vibe to it.
Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for giving me the opportunity to read this book in an exchange for a review.