Review: Enders by Lissa Price

I received this book for free from YA Books Central in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Enders by Lissa PriceEnders by Lissa Price
Series: Starters #2
Published by Delacorte BFYR on January 7, 2014
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
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two-half-stars

With the Prime Destinations body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn't want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save Callie's life - but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena's memories, too ...and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body? This is the thrilling sequel to "Starters"

Generally, publishing runs at this awesomely steady pace where we, as readers, can count on getting the next installment in a series in a nice timely fashion. Wait but a year, and the next book will be in your hands. With Enders, though, it came out just under two years after Starters. Now, it’s not the book’s fault, but within that time period, I sort of lost my passion for this series, though I did want to finish it. Enders is good, but I didn’t get as into it as I did with Starters, possibly because of the wait.

If you enjoyed Starters, I do think that you will be pretty happy with the series conclusion. Lissa Price remains one of the rare dystopian YA authors who puts romance on the back burner. There is some, but she’s much more interested in and focused on the plot, which is so refreshing. The world building, while a little bit sketchy, is solid unto itself, which is good enough for me. I’m willing to make an intellectual leap for a series, as long as the internal logic works out properly.

Callie’s internal struggles as a result of the events of Starters are quite compelling. Big spoiler for Starters coming up by the way, though you ought to be ready for these if you’re reading a review for a later book in a series. Anyway, Callie had a romance with a boy in Starters only to realize that the boy was a starter body being controlled by The Old Man, the big bad of the series. DUN DUN DUN.

What I love about this is that Callie has to deal with all the feelings that she had. She spends a brief amount of time with the starter whose body The Old Man was wearing, and she doesn’t feel anything romantic. Yes, it’s disgusting and creepy, but in a haunting, shocking way that I never expected. I like that Price doesn’t hide from the sheer ickiness of everything that went down or ignore the implications.

Price adds in another possible love interest and puts in a slight love triangle, but it’s actually really acceptable. I’m not particularly shipping either way, but it’s also still anybody’s game. I like that the romance has options, but that Callie’s more focused on survival for the most part. Though she has a preference, she’s not rushing off to commit any time soon.

The ending felt really rushed, with the resolution coming much too easily on a lot of fronts, both with Callie’s emotions and with the defeat of the bad guy. Mostly, I find it frustrating that the darkness of Callie’s lingering feelings for The Old Man do end up being de-creepified in the end: View Spoiler »

Additionally, the ending feels like the set up for another novel in this series, though it would be a deviation much like the planned season four of Veronica Mars where she would have joined the FBI. I’m really hoping this doesn’t happen, because I was promised a duology. If there is a third book, I will probably bow out, even though I enjoyed these two.

The Starters series by Lissa Price ranks fairly high among the young adult dystopian offerings. It’s a good choice for readers looking for a dystopian series that doesn’t put romance first.

Favorite Quote:

“Sure, I got the makeover like you did, but it didn’t really change me. Someday we’ll both be Enders, and even with green laser surgery, eventually we’ll be old and wrinkled. Like everybody. But we’ll look a lot better if we’re happy inside. If we used or brains and talents instead of stressing over what someone else defines as ‘pretty.'”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

oooh, cool, eyeroll
Started out shocking and fascinating, but ended with some eyerolls.

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