Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Icons by Margaret Stohl


Author: Margaret Stohl
Release: May 7th 2013
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, YA
#1 in the Icons series
Sequels: Idols (#2), TBA


Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.


“Epic in scale and exquisite in detail (...),” that is what Ally Condie, author of the Matched trilogy said about this book. Let me tell you why, because Condie, being a huge fan of capitalizing everything, has read this and cried tears of joy. Because Stohl trumps even Condie herself and really does capitalize literally everything. Don't believe me? Well, I've taken the liberty of compiling a list.

The Day
The Icons
The Lords
The Embassy/Embassies
The Ambassador (okay I can understand this one but still)
The Mission
The Occupation
The Tracks
The Padre
Getting tired? There's more.
The Hole
The Merk
The Choppers
The Sympas
The Grass

Yup. That's it. All of that is capitalized, continuously, throughout the whole novel. And I might have still missed one or two things. Plus, even after having finished the novel, I still don't know what half of these mean, and I only ever got what the ones I do now understand mean well, well after the halftime mark. And only through deduction and logical conclusions, because nothing, I mean it nothing, was ever really, fully explained. The only means to deduct the meanings of these is out of context. So, I still can't be sure if what I deduced is actually right. It's downright ridiculous.

Well, and then there's the problem that nothing ever really happens in this book. I was around page 200, and I could count everything that really happened up until then on one hand. On two fingers, actually. The whole events of this could be summarized in two sentences. 

The characters were cardboard cutouts, with no real, or likable, personality. I think it speaks volumes if I point out that my two favorite characters were a non existing computer and a pig that dies during the first 50 pages. Oh, and the dog. Never forget the dog. It's actually because of this animal that I got to close to liking at least one of the characters, Tima, but even she couldn't keep my interest for longer than when she was around Brutus. Now, Lucas was actually more than okay, he was a good kid. Dol on the other hand annoyed me more than once because she kept blabbering and talking gibberish, never able to make up her mind and Ro, her sidekick-kind-of-boyfriend was the worst character here, hands down. He was simply an ass the whole time and I don't think I could ever make peace with him. All in all, though most of the characters were seriously okay, none of them stood out in any particular way.

But Alexa! Why two and a half stars then? Well... I do have to admit that I enjoyed this quite well, and I read this in two days and didn't do my homework because of it. I think the premise was a very intriguing one, all that with the Lover, the Weeper and so on, it piqued my interest and I think there's a lot of potential there. Even though little was explained and such, I don't know... maybe it's just because I desperately wanted to like it so much, and even though I'm not blown away by it, and it's a far cry from the greatness that was her co-author's Unbreakable, I still liked Icons.

So, in conclusion, I guess I can safely say that I'll pick up the sequel when it comes out. I'm holding out hope that Idols will blow me away, like Phoenix or Unravel Me did, because it will be so much better quality-wise than its predecessor and I'll learn to appreciate the characters. Maybe Stohl will finally tell me what all the capitalized things mean, and ... you know, just, explain. And finally have more happen. I have my fingers crossed...

Oh, and Dolor means PAIN AND NOT SORROW.

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