I used to read a lot of young adult fiction. I still read it relatively often for a 35-year-old woman. And as much as there’s a ton of genuinely great young adult fiction out there, a lot of it is rote and predictable. This holds especially true, unfortunately, for both sci-fi and fantasy and is often even more true for a series in either genre. You can guess at so many elements that will appear: a love triangle, a mysteriously reappearing parent, the list goes on and on. Hell, I’ve skimmed through mediocre YA novels because I could guess what would happen next, and I was right.
This is one of the few YA books I’ve read where I couldn’t ever predict what was going to happen next. Well, maybe once. Maybe I had a feeling about one major reveal. But for most of the twists (and this was a very twisty one) I was genuinely surprised. I also found this to be a very propulsive read: I’d get mad when I was interrupted in the middle of a chapter or when I had to stop reading to get off the bus. The use of images, chats, and other format changes make for a very quick read as well.
Now, I haven’t even started on the rest of this series yet, so it could be that the authors suddenly decided to stuff all the usual cliches and predictability into the next two books. That’s certainly happened before (looking at you, Maze Runner), and I hope it’s not the case here. But even if I end up disappointed by the rest of the series, I’m glad I read this one.