by Lissa Price
Series: Starters #1
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
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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. . . .
When I saw the cover and read the synopsis I was immediately intrigued by Starters. I have a real love for dystopias and post-apocalyptic novels. Starters is the debut novel of Lissa Price and the exciting start of a new series. The world-building and story are fascinating. Parts of the tale, had a disturbing ring of truth to them. This novel quickly captured my attention and I breezed through it in a single day.
The protagonist sixteen year old Callie, lost her parents during the Spore Wars. Without grandparents or any other living relative, she and her seven year old brother Tyler are left to fend for themselves. They are living in abandon office buildings with their friend Michael. Callie learns of a way to make income through another Starter. Prime Destination’s offers Callie an opportunity to gain enough money to rent a home and provide food for a few years. The catch, she has to rent out her body three times to an Elder. Her instincts scream this is dangerous, but after a raid on their shelter, she makes the decision to take the job. The tale that unfolds is mine boggling and kept me engrossed. Callie is lovable, confident, and intelligent. Her courage and loyalty when faced with adversity was refreshing. I connected with her and other key characters such as Blake and the Elders. The relationship between Callie and Blake was interesting and a startling revelation near the end of this novel shocked me. The villain, referred to as the Old Man was creepy and his motives not yet clear, I am looking forward to learning more in the next novel.
The world-building, and history of the reality Callie, and the other Starters find themselves living in was intriguing. Some of the issues in this society, eerily parallel our own reality. A lot of moral issues are raised regarding a society where the gap between the poor and the wealthy has widened. Where the rich take what they want regardless of the impact of the rest of society. The world building wasn’t without flaws. I question some of the back story. The large number of children left without guardians in a world where the average grandparent is 100 years old. The math just doesn’t add up.To believe what is written, there is a whole generation missing from this tale. The way in which the unclaimed young are treated is deplorable and the governments reasons and actions vague. I felt the storyline needed to be more tightly knit. Despite these concerns; I loved the characters and plot.
I highly recommend Starters to fans of post-apocalyptic dystopias. Price shows tremendous talent as a young writer and I look forward to watching her growth. I will definitely continue with this series. Starters is scheduled to publish on March 13, 2012 and will be available in paper, audio and eBook formats.