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Another YA dystopia...
Dark Parties - Sara Grant
Member Name: InchyInchy
Dark Parties - Sara Grant
Advantages: A great read
Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...
Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.
Right from the beginning I was drawn into the story and the characters lives, but initially it was the idea of a protectosphere that intrigued me. I have read and really enjoyed Stephen King's Under the Dome and I wondered if this would be along those lines, but apart from it being an impassable outer shell there really wasn't much in common.
To begin with I found Neva quite a hard character to like, as some of her actions are a little self absorbed and even mean to the people she cared most about. However, I did warm to her. In Dark Parties there was of course the typical YA love triangle involved, but I think the best chemistry was between Neva and her lifelong best friend Sanna. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot but when it counted Neva was willing to risk almost everything to save her friend and keep their friendship alive.
Although I enjoyed the story there wasn't really all that much that made Dark Parties stand out from the growing abundance of dystopian YA novels out there. The plot was very predictable and although there were some interesting quirks to the book, it did in a lot of ways feel like a story that I had already read. But, having said that the writing was good and it was easy to sit back and enjoy the story unfold. I did really like some of the smaller details of the book and I loved that throughout the generations all the people became to look more and more similar, so much so that people chose to design themselves identity marks - Sanna carved an S onto her cheek, while Neva tattooed a small snowflake beside her hip.
The ending of the story was good and did wrap almost everything up nicely and this did work well as a standalone but I can also imagine that it could be the beginning to a new series, I would certainly happily revisit with some of the characters. There was quite a lot about the history of the world and about the society that you really don't get to know, I would be interested in reading more.
I can imagine that this book is going to produce a mixed bag of opinions, as I said I enjoyed the story but it didn't feel like something new, but just a well told re-take on what is fast becoming a typical dystopian theme. Still recommended.
Genre - YA, dystopian
Published by Indigo (Oct 2011)
Paperback -256 pages (£6.99)
Source - I received a copy of 'Dark Parties' by Sara Grant in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Four out of five stars
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