(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
I did find this book to be quite difficult to get into at first. By the end, I’d ideally give it 3.5 stars… unfortunately, it didn’t quite reach the mark for 4 stars, at least for me.
I had a few mixed feelings about Ariana. I actually felt she started off as quite an interesting character… but I felt that she lost the strength I glimpsed when Cal came into the picture. She kind of lost me for quite a while when she waxed narcissistic (there were a couple of references to her body shape being curvy. And toned. And thin… and, well, who really knows what shape their face is?)
I felt that the book was better during the times when the romance took more of a backseat. I liked seeing glimpses of Zane and it was also good to see Ariana interacting with the others in her family. I did like the fact that she was taking care of her brother and sister… and it was also good to see her having to deal with a mother who was struggling with depression.
There were times I felt that Ariana’s language came across as a bit juvenile. I’ve seen ‘OMG’ used in dialogue… but it’s just as cringeworthy to read it used in the narrative. And it seemed to contradict Ariana’s entire personality up till that point.
Although I didn’t like the constant descriptions of males being ‘handsome’ with no reference points, I did actually find Cal to be a fairly intriguing character. I do have a strong dislike of love triangles, though, and the one set up in this book hit a lot of my negative associations.
I found Zane a bit more of an interesting narrator, though his constant hangups over Ariana were a bit annoying. I felt that too much of the book was dedicated to describing events/scenes that were really unnecessary. There was a lot glossed over that was irritating, giving a telling rather than showing feeling to the book.
I did like Ariana’s relationship with her father and it was interesting to see the politics involved… even if I did get a sense of the Hunger Games at certain points. The book was easier to read as I continued… but I do think there were things that could have been improved upon.