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For a book that gets off to a kind of slow start, I really thought it eventually picked up and redeemed itself. I understand that the beginning of the book is used to set up the world and the characters, but I thought it could have been done a little bit more quickly. While the history is interesting, I felt like I was trudging through a swamp of details before actually getting to the meat of the book. After that swamp though, it was great! The pacing is much better, and the excitement really builds up.
While the pacing was kind of slow, I thought the world building was excellent. I really enjoyed the way the world was constructed - a futuristic North America where Canada, the US, and Mexico have become one giant country. The concept of being tested at a certain age to see if you're too violent or could have violent tendencies was very much like the testing done in Divergent. Those who fail are sent away, and those who don't are let be.
I also really liked most of the characters. Gadya was back and forth, but I thought she was very real. Rika was sweet, and I felt like I would have loved to be friends with her. I'm still really confused about David, Veidman, and a few other characters, but I'm really hoping they're explored more in the sequels. I did think that Alenna was developed as much as she could have been, but at least she's mostly trying to solve a mystery the entire time, and she does grow a little bit.
I found the ending to be very abrupt, and I'm not entirely sure where it will go from here. I really hope several missing characters come back, and I hope that more questions are answered than are created in the next book. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the Divergent series, and also fans of books about alternate futures. I'd give this book a 4/5.