Author: Teri Terry
Release: May 3rd 2012
Genre: Dystopia, Mystery, Thriller, YA
#1 in the Slated trilogy
Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.
She’s been Slated.
The government claims she was a terrorist and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?
For the past few minutes, I have been battling with myself over whether to give this book three or four stars. In the end, I decided on the latter because... this book. It's a debut novel, and it actually managed to make me cry. Maybe not the real, ugly and sobbing kind, but still: tears streaming down my face and I felt truly sad. So far, the list of books that made me cry is up to ... right. Five. Not a lot, because I really am not a person to be moved very lightly, so it's saying something if this book managed it.
Where to start? Hmm. Let me start off with the world-building, which was quite nicely done. We get the basics right from the start, and Terry cleverly places enough hints throughout the whole story about the society so the reader gets the whole picture over the course of the novel. At the end, we know where we stand, what the government's all about as well as the "rebellion." Both are neither good nor bad, and I liked this inclusion of grey morale, because one of the things that really irk me about books is when they try to convince me that someone is only good, or only bad. It created a nice conflict within me as well as Kyla.
Which brings me to the next point: Kyla. Or, more specifically, the characters. Kyla is a very pleasant narrator and protagonist right off the bat, and I liked her well enough at first. This soon turned to a deep fondness of her, especially since I liked her diversity of character and, like I said, all of the conflict within her. Lots of turmoil, anxiety and uncertainty, which I also can kind of relate to, as well as her scientific and logical, analytical mind, because it's something I do (or try to), too. This might have factored in in me liking her so much, but anyways: Kyla was, in my opinion, a well fleshed-out and complex heroine.
The other characters were also more than meets the eye, as I had first thought. Ben was one of those guys that, from the first moment we met him, wore one of those huge signs that screamed "LOVE INTEREST." And he seemed to be a very shallow, typical devil-may-care smiling boy toy, but... he grew beyond that. Terry gave him an unusual vulnerability and a kind of quirky personality that came with him being a Slated as well, and I soon began to have a deep fondness for him also. Then we have Kyla's mum, who is not what I expected either, neither were Dr. Lysander, that Penny nurse, the Hatten guy, Kyla, ... basically, everyone, and all of them had unexpected depth, complexity and they were all different from one another. This book was full of surprises, it started out like a very cliché and boring story, but it grew to be so much more than that.
Also, the Mystery and Thriller elements were really well done. As I already mentioned above, at first Slated seemed a bit like any other random "psycho thriller," and in fact reminded me of The Program (which, if you remember, I absolutely hated) and had me worried for a second there. But worry not, and if you are at this stage currently and are unsure about continuing... do. It gets a lot better later on. We ask ourselves all of these questions, like who the bad guy(s) is/are, who we (or, well, Kyla) can trust in the end, what's up with the Lorder, what's up with the missing kids, what's up with the Slating etc, and there are more and more questions accumulating throughout the novel, all of which get answered with at least some theses, if not actual answers. Still, finishing the novel, there are still many stones left unturned, and I truly have no clue how you could still have so many questions but at the same time feel satisfied with all the answers the book gave you.
What else is there? Right, the romance, I suppose. It was a bit confusing at first, because for the first 100 pages or so, we don't really know where Kyla and Ben stand. However, Kyla soon makes up her mind about her feelings, but it still doesn't progress very far — which I liked. They take their time with the romance, and they're actually friends first. Like, best friends, they can laugh around each other as well as be serious and talk about society stuff, they talk about their secrets and problems with one another, and I really loved seeing them be friends first for once. Of course, there was the insta attraction, but I mean, really, I can't say anything about that because... isn't that how it always goes? You see someone, and you think to yourself, whether involuntarily or not, "Yeah, I wouldn't mind dating them." Anyways, I really thought their relationship would move too fast and annoy me and basically, be the deal breaker, but it wasn't, and after both Kyla and Ben's complicated personalities became clear, I was even rooting for them and I can definitely see why they would want to be together and why they'd fit.
I think that's all I have to say, let me just end this with this: I went into this with medium expectations, thinking I'd like it well enough but that it wouldn't blow me away. I'm not saying it's an extraordinary book or anything, I mean it's not 5 stars after all, but it was way better than I ever could have anticipated. If you're thinking about reading this, please go ahead, because you won't be wasting your time. I for one am glad that I did wait until my copy of the sequel arrived to read this, because now I definitely want to get on with that one as soon as possible, which would be right now.