Author: Lissa Price
Genre: Dystopia, Speculative Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 2014
Hardcover: 288 Pages
With the Prime Destinations body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save Callie’s life – but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too …and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body? This is the thrilling sequel to “Starters”.
Stand alone or series: Book 2 in the Starters Duology
How did I get this book: ARC from the Publisher
Format (e- or p-): Print ARC
**WARNING: This discussion contains unavoidable spoilers for book 1 in the series. If you have not read Starters and wish to remain unspoiled, look away! You have been warned.**
Technically this isn’t a review: I DNF’d Enders about halfway through, then skimmed the rest of the book to see how it all ended. My reaction can be summed up with this old favorite:
A little background: I read and enjoyed Starters, book 1 in this duology, very much. Despite the huge worldbuilding issues and plentiful plot holes, Starters won me over with its fantastically ludicrous premise and action-packed storyline. It’s a guilty pleasure CW-television show kind of book – who doesn’t like extra cheese every once in a while?
I gobbled up Starters with hopes for more of the same with this year’s release of Enders – especially given the huge twist at the end of book 1 (SO CHEESY BUT SO GOOD).
Unfortunately, Enders fails to deliver on so many levels. In the most literal sense, Enders doesn’t stack up to Starters – at nearly 100 pages shorter than its predecessor, Enders reads more like a very rough draft of a poorly written thriller.
Picking up basically immediately where Starters leaves off, book 2 kicks things off with a triumphant if wary Callie. Prime Destinations has been destroyed, but The Old Man – aka the mastermind behind the body bank and the guy who creepily hijacked a Starter boy’s body and made kissy-time with Callie – is still at large. While Callie has a cushy existence thanks to an inheritance from Helena (an Ender who rented out her body in Prime Destinations’ heyday), she still is fearful because the chip that allows Enders to take over her body is still in her head. Turns out, all implanted Starters – aka “Metals” – are at risk when The Old Man starts communicating via Callie’s chip and shows her just what he can make the Metals do (everything from dance around like puppets, to spontaneously explode).
Then Callie meets a dude named Hyden, who is a GENIUS and The Old Man’s resentful son. Of course, Hyden also happens to be ridiculously good looking and a fellow Metal. He also cannot TOUCH anyone – but it’s ok! He can jump into other Metals’ bodies without their consent and kiss Callie. Because that’s ok in this book. Callie and Hyden start picking up Metals and trying to protect them, which leads to a predictable raid, which leads to a dramatic showdown in which the Old Man is revealed and Callie saves the day. Sort of. I guess.
I can’t even write this synopsis with a straight face because it is all over the place. I’m not going to dive too deeply into the poor writing or the incomprehensible plot – really, the things that bothered me were character choice and overall story arc. Enders, unfortunately, has little continuity with Starters – many of the former characters conveniently fade into the background, and new characters (like Hyden) are inserted into the novel in their stead. For example, Callie’s driving motivation, supposedly, is her love for her younger brother Tyler and her best friend Michael; problem is that in this book she conveniently ships her younger brother off for the majority of the text, and any development of the relationship she has with best friend Michael is weirdly truncated. The introduction of Hyden, literally out of nowhere, is a bizarre choice manufactured for requisite romantic shenanigans – and Hyden’s secret identity and motivation is actually laugh-out-loud ludicrous. I mean literally, I laughed aloud at the big twist.
And, naturally, when you remove the entertainment factor of the story, the plot holes and worldbuilding issues are that much more apparent. What was the purpose of the Spore Wars again? Why weren’t more “middles” vaccinated (like… doctors, or soldiers, or the actual reproductive population of the planet)? How did the world go to such shit in just a year? How does Callie know what a typewriter is but doesn’t understand what a laptop is? Why is Callie trusting and smooching Hyden after she’s basically just met him? WTF IS THIS SHIT!?
The biggest question that kept popping up as I was reading Enders, however, was why are you wasting your time with this book?
So I stopped. Suffice it to say, I was not a fan. Sorry, folks, but this was a big, fat DNF – my first of the year. Huzzah.
Notable Quotes/Parts: You can read the first 50 pages online HERE.
Rating: Did Not Finish
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