Starters by Lissa Price

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Title : Starters
Author : Lissa Price
Genre : Dystopian
Published Date : March 3rd 2012
Publisher : Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages : 352
Source : Bought
Rating : ✿✿✿✿✿

From Goodreads :
Her world is changed forever.
Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. 
She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. 
Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. 
Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. 
It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .


I first saw this book on my local library, and you see, the Indonesian version of it really has a nice and eye catching cover (Check it out here), like a movie poster or something.

So when I read the blurb and became totally hooked by its unique and fresh concept, I decided to give it a try. And, well, I have to say I haven't read a great dystopian book such as this for a while.

"When hawks cry, time to fly."

Starters took place in the dystopian world destroyed by a Spores War, where people lived for almost two centuries, and that the old people (a.k.a Enders) could rent the body of a fresh young people (a.k.a Starters) with money.
Callie Woodland was an orphan when her mother was killed on the Spores war, and her father was arrested and never to be heard again months later. Living with little food and taking shelter illegally on an abandoned building, Callie's life a constant circle of hunger and escape again and again.
Until she find out about Prime Destination, the organization where Starters could be paid by renting their body to the wealthy Enders.
Money and living on was the only thing Callie thought about when she applied to become a donor of Prime. What she didn't know, though, was that her last renter happened to be a murderous woman with a plan that could get them both killed. That her chip was malfunctioning and Callie could fully control her body—which had never happened with any other donor before.
And that the Prime Destination might not be as real as they claimed to be, at all.

The pacing of this book, I think, was perfectly fitting for this kind of story. It was fast-paced, with new things being thrown every here and there, and the details and the world-building was described as the story goes.
And I also love Lisa's writing style, where she used not a straightforward method for telling us about the strange things—such as the Spores—that were practically flying around everywhere on a dystopian novel, but rather giving us a main idea as the the story proceed, throwing bits of information here and there, and made us understand about what it could do and what it had done, not just plainly what it could do.

Callie Woodland, as our main character, was an exceptionally strong character. 
The story began as Callie volunteered to become a body donor because of economical problem, and she was more than willing to do anything to keep herself and her brother alive. 
But when her third renter was unpredictably planning a murder and Callie's chip began to malfunction  we get to see her life as she faked herself every single day, acting that her body still belong to the renter, when, in fact, it didn't.
What especially stood out from Callie was her distinct voiceI love how her dialog could be easily recognized without the 'she said', and that when she was happy or terrified, I could totally feel that as well. 
Her personality was also strong, likable, yet at the same time still realistic and—my favorite part ever, this one—very well-flawed.
I love how her background, as an orphan, really reflected on her everyday behavior and that she would always take a rational decision, not an imaginary decision we reader would love her to take. And boy, I love her for that.
Helena Winterhill, Callie's renter as well as our other main character, however, was not as brilliant as Callie herself. Sure, she did have some nice past and background story and quite an objective, but that was it.
There was no something totally 'Helena' that I could find on this book, and that made her fell on the same places as the other secondary character, when, in fact, she was not. 
The same goes to the other important secondary character as well, such as Tinnenbaum, Blake, and the other character I couldn't even remember their names. They were just typical and flat, but not at all interesting.
Blake, Callie's love interest with a complicated position as the grandson of Helena's enemy, had that flat syndrome as well. And what made me dislike him even more was that his insta-love with Callie. Hello, cliche. 
I mean, later on the story, I finally understood the purpose behind their beautiful insta-love or whatever it was, but then again, readers read from cover-to-cover, and no, they won't know why it happened when they read the insta-love. And then, they might not be able to sympathize at all with Callie and Blake's relationship.
I do love love love the twist about Blake and some other characters on the ending tough. Really brilliant, Lissa Price.

One thing that I thought was a bit lacking from this book was its ending. Not that I hate it, of course. I personally think that the ending wrapped THIS book quite nicely, tying all the loose cord together and left the reader feeling satisfied.
But that exactly what the problem was. 
All the loose cord of the plot was tied way too perfectly it made no question, and therefore made this book felt more like a standalone rather than a first book of a series. It also made the reader way too satisfied, they didn't feel that something was left hanging and unsolved, therefore not leaving them questioning it and dying to read the next book.

Overall if you love to read dystopian book, and would love to try a fresh read with a strong world building, strong culture, and unique concept, I definitely recommend this book for you. For those of you who loves Collin's Hunger Games, Roth's Divergent, or Rossi's Under the Never Sky, this book will definitely appeal to you.

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  1. I hadn't heard of this book before, it sounds really interesting, even if it does have the dreaded insta love. I'm not a big fan of the cover - it's creepy - maybe I can find the other version somewhere...


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