Initial reaction: I'm glad I read this outside of a sea of dystopian reads. While formulaic and short (with a fair share of instalove), I'll admit this entertained me in places, and I'm interested enough to continue with the series. I do wish I'd had more investment in the characters though. I like smart characters, I like action packed sequences, I like dystopian environments, but I think there were parts of this book that came a little too easily for events.
Quick review for a quick read. I really liked Marie Lu's "Legend" as the start to the series of the same title. Granted, it took me forever to even pick this book up because it was constantly on hold at my library (or sold out of my bookstore - I'm seriously not kidding). So it went unread up until this year - upon finishing it I was really entertained. This is set in a dystopian future of the United States (It's a republic) where two factions are continuously at war. Day is a wanted criminal who's somewhat of a futuristic Robin Hood - steals from the rich, gives to the poor, doesn't kill anybody. June is an up and coming soldier who's a prodigy and sister to one of the miliary's top officers. Day and June aren't aware of the other's existence until June's brother is killed and Day suspected to be the culprit behind the crime. It's then a gradual uncovering of many lies and harsh contrasts in the lives of the two characters, up until the rather satisfying conclusion (which felt self-contained enough to finish the book, but not end in a cruel cliffhanger, thankfully.)
This book felt like it was cut of the same cloth as many dystopians in the YA group, but I enjoyed reading it. I read through this really, really fast (probably within the matter of hours), and I'll admit to being affected by the character deaths and other events that were fast paced, action oriented, and the discovery of things being not what they seemed in the Republic. At the same time, this did have a fair helping of instalove (it was hard to feel like Day and June's relationship wasn't telegraphed to me in places of the novel), and I felt that the characterizations were lacking more flesh and development in the overarching novel. Granted, I mentioned that the character deaths impacted me, but I still felt like something was missing even after reading about them among some of the other character experiences in the work.
Still I'm invested enough to see what Lu brings to the rest of the series, and I liked the journey this took me on.
Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.