Friday, November 15, 2013

Damselfly by Jennie Bates Bozic - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Jennie Bates Bozic LLC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Damselfly
Author: Jennie Bates Bozic
Publication Date: November 11, 2013

My Pre-Reading

In 2065, the Lilliput Project created Lina - the first six-inch-tall winged girl - as the solution to a worldwide energy and food crisis. Isolated in a compound amidst the forests of Denmark, Lina has grown up aware of only one purpose: learn how to survive in a world filled with hawks, bumblebees, and loneliness. However, on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, she discovers that she’s not the only teenager her size. Six 'Toms' were created shortly after Lina, and now her creators need to prove to the world that tiny people are the next logical step in human evolution. In other words, they need to prove that reproduction is possible.

Um. No thanks. Lina's already fallen in love with a boy she met online named Jack. Only he has no idea that thumbelina1847 could literally fit inside his heart.

When her creators threaten to hurt Jack unless she chooses a husband from among the ‘Toms’, Lina agrees to star in a reality TV series. Once the episodes begin to air, the secret of her size is out. Cut off from any contact with the outside world, Lina assumes Jack is no longer interested. After all, what guy would want to date a girl he can’t even kiss?

Slowly, very slowly, she befriends the six young men who see her as their only ticket to happiness. Perhaps she can make just one guy’s dream of love and companionship come true. But her creators have a few more twists in store for her that she never thought possible. 

She’s not the only one playing to the cameras.


Review: Retellings of old/classic stories are the one thing I cannot resist, especially if it's a story that I grew up with. So a reimagining of Thumbelina? Yeah, I had to read it. And I'm so glad I did, because this book was most excellent! 

Thumbelina is mostly a fantasy story. A girl, no bigger than your thumb, interacts with toads and moles and all other sorts of small creatures before meeting and falling in love with a small fairy prince who happens to be just her size. But Bozic gives us a sci-fi version of this tale. Lina, short for Thumbelina (of course) was created in a laboratory as a solution to the energy and hunger crisis. Because obviously people who are no larger than 6 inches tall will consume less food and energy. I was actually really surprised that this book has so little fantasy in it, and I think it made it even better. I enjoyed how Bozic portrays the advancements of science and I thought she did an excellent job of driing home the point that even science has its flaws. Especially when discoveries are led by a desire for money instead of knowledge.

I liked Lina a lot. She's 15, almost 16, but she acts much older than that. And I guess when you have to train every day to avoid falcons and other birds of prey and you have to learn how to do pretty much everything on your own, you grow up fast. She's strong-willed and smart and physically capable, but she's also naive and impulsive and she even struggles with physical limitations - even the science couldn't manufacture out her asthma. I loved watching her grow and struggle and try to figure out how to deal with her present circumstances. She makes real decisions, even if they aren't always the best ones, and it's very easy to sympathize with her.

I really hate reality TV shows that make one person choose between some number of eligible bachelors/bachelorettes, so I really didn't blame Lina for being pissed about having to participate. Because of that being a huge part of the plot, the romance was pretty heavy. Whether it was between Lina and the Toms or Lina and Jack, it was always a part of any major decision or any plot twist that occurred. Well, most of the twists anyway. I kind of expected that, but what I didn't expect was that it wasn't in your face and obnoxious. It was sweet and nurtured over time, and very much a fairy tale. 

This book was definitely a standalone, as all loose ends were tied up by the end, and I really appreciated that. Too many books nowadays are parts of trilogies or series, and it just gets really tedious. This was a short, quick read that left me with a few questions but mostly filled in all the blanks. I would totally recommend it to anyone who grew up with some version of the Thumbelina story, or to anyone who just likes retellings in general. Especially if you want to see a fantasy story take on a sci-fi twist! 4/5! 


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