Saturday, December 29, 2012

REVIEW: "DISSIDENCE" - by Jamie Canosa

by Jamie Canosa

REVIEWED BY: Books4Tomorrow


In dystopian America, sixteen-year-old Kaleigh finds out quickly what having a big mouth and not enough brains to keep it shut can earn you. A one-way ticket to the work camps that no one even knows exists.

Nuclear war has ravished the nation, and a century later, the survivors are living in an entirely new world. In a society where everything is decided for you, from where you work to who you marry, dissidence is not taken lightly.

But, even inside the camps, Kaleigh’s fiery spirit refuses to be extinguished. In a single moment of defiance, she manages to spark a riot that ignites into a full-blown rebellion.

With growing numbers counting on her, not just for their freedom, but for their very lives, two different boys vying for her heart, and trouble brewing from within the camp itself, can Kaleigh find a way to step up and become the leader everyone is counting on her to be, or will even the most carefully laid plans come crashing down around her?


I’m a huge fan of dystopian fantasy, so of course I was eager to get into this book. A beautiful cover and an intriguing premise – I was instantly hooked.

The book started out really well and I was quickly drawn into Katniss Kaleigh and Peeta’s Peter’s world. I liked her feisty character and some of the supporting characters too even though it had a distinctly The Hunger Games feel to it. But what really drew me deeper into the story was the author’s snarky writing that had me grinning.

Then I reached a point in the book where Katniss Kaleigh had to go for her first branding and - *insert screeching brakes here* - I think to myself, what the heck? She received a branding on the back of her neck only a few chapters earlier and now the author’s pretending like this is her first? Wouldn’t this then be her second branding? I was thoroughly confused. So I backtracked and reread the chapter in which she received her first prisoner branding – and there it is. A huge, gaping hole in the plot. I was utterly disappointed as this was not the only discrepancy. Katniss Kaleigh refuses to get into a car because she’s never been in one before and she’s afraid she might not be able to deal with the speed the car is traveling at, but a few minutes later she gets into a train that moves at lightning fast speed, looks out the window at the landscape rushing by, and this doesn’t bother her at all. Strange.

You see, tiny details are important to me as reader. I appreciate it when an author isn’t dumping info all over the place, but leave a lot to the reader’s imagination. However, it just made no sense to me that it is never mentioned that prisoners ever got the opportunity to shower or wash themselves or use the bathroom. The prisoners’ daily routine consisted of waking up, having breakfast, going down to the mines to slave away, coming back up for dinner and then going straight to bed. It was blatantly clear that the everyday-routine task of cleaning themselves or getting dressed in a clean set of clothes was overlooked in the writing of the prisoners’ daily rituals, and I was left under the impression that Katniss Kaleigh and her friends never had a shower, brushed their teeth, combed their hair, or put on clean underwear in three months. Gross. The first mention of a bathroom (at the prisoner camps) only occurs nearly halfway into the book and that was when a wound needed to be cleaned. Now this might seem as petty things to complain about, but I was having such a great time reading this book, especially enjoying the author’s way of thinking, that I couldn’t help feeling disappointed that such obvious things were being overlooked by the author and/or editor. Even in The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, the characters' daily cleaning rituals were mentioned.

Aside from my disappointment in important details being disregarded, I think this is a terrific book. The story isn’t really unique as far as dystopian novels go, but it is an immensely enjoyable one, if you overlook the abovementioned points. The similarities with elements from The Hunger Games were observable (from unintentionally inciting a rebellion and overthrowing the system, the ever popular-in-YA-novels love-triangle, to using a train as the main form of transport), but the author has her own distinct writing style which bears no resemblance to that of Suzanne Collins. I loved the ending and it got me curious as to what will be happening in the next book. I would love to give it five stars for great writing, suspense, and the fact that I simply couldn’t put it down until I got to the exhilarating cliffhanger ending, but I feel let down by the gaping holes in the story and therefore only give it a worth-your-time-reading three stars.


“Dissidence” by Jamie Canosa has 6 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



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