I love to read just about anything, as long as it's fiction. I read for me - that means I read what I want, when I want. My reviews tend to mostly be based on how I'm able to personally connect with the story/characters. They are not intended to influence someone to read, or not read, a particular book. I always encourage people to take a chance and make up your own mind.
Oh, and I love chocolate.
Ok, I actually really liked this book. It was very close to a 5 star book for me, and I'll mention the few things that knocked it down to a 4.
I liked that this was about love being a disease. It was different, and I can see how society would come up with that logic. Love is the most powerful force that will drive someone to do something. If you're looking to control people, taking away love is a good place to start.
I also liked that Lena wasn't immediately rebellious. I liked that she wanted to believe in what she was being told and wanted to be 'cured' so she could be happy. I liked that she had moments of rebellion, followed by moments of guilt and regret. This all felt very normal to me, and it helped me believe in her growing frustration. This did make the book very slow paced, so if you like a lot of action... not going to get it here (at least in the first book, guess we'll see what happens in the second). Personally, I was OK with this. I liked the slow build, and it helped me get more angry with the society and everyone living in it.
I liked the relationship between Lena and Alex. He was kind of quiet and reserved, and I think that suited Lena well.
The ending. Oh my. I actually teared up a bit.
Now, what I struggled with.
Oliver's writing is beautiful - no question about that. However, I did feel as if it was over done in some places. There were times when I just wanted the story to get on with it, rather than dragging through adverb after adverb after adverb...
Many times these long descriptions, or flashes to back story, happened in the middle of dialogue. I'm not a fan of that. It disrupts the flow and the moment is lost for me. Now, I did listen to this in audio book format, so it's possible that this dialogue interruption wasn't so bad if reading.
I half liked half didn't like that this dystopian world seemed to be not that far off into the future. The fact that things still seemed relatively the same as they are today made it feel more possible. However, there were parts of it that felt out of place in a dystopian world. Like, they still have Jolly Ranchers, but not that much electricity... what? There were a few of these moments for me. Also, I felt that this controlling society that can alter people to be without love didn't have very good security measures. There were several 'underground' parties, and websites. There were empty houses where Lena and Alex could meet all the time. It just seemed that there would have been more high-tech security measures available.
There wasn't much explanation for why the government ruled love as a disease. I can draw my own conclusions, but it'd be nice to know Oliver's point of view. Maybe this is to come in the next installment.
Overall, well worth it. I often found myself just sitting in my garage because I didn't want to turn the audio book off. I even willingly mowed the lawn today so I could finish listening to it :-) Now, off to download book two audio... I think I see some voluntary weeding in my very near future (headphones on, of course)...