f0zKg0J4zFLYz-Yq0aednQVqREE Once Upon a Prologue: Review: Starters by Lissa Price
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Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Starters by Lissa Price
Expected publication: March 13th, 2012 (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)
Pages: 368
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series or stand-alone: Starters (1)
Rating: Squee-worthy
Further info/purchase: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Find the author online: Twitter | Website


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. . . .

My Review

In Starters, debut author Lissa Price catapults the reader head-first into the dangerous post-Spore Wars world, where for Callie Woodland, every day is a roll of the dice.  Callie and her younger brother, Tyler are on their own other than a single friend, Michael - squatting in abandoned buildings, hoping not to be noticed by Enders (the older generation left untouched by the mysterious War.)  When Tyler gets sicker, Callie makes a desperate decision, to turn herself over to Prime Destinations, and Lissa Price wastes no time fluffing the pages with unnecessary road blocks.  What I loved about Starters was that Lissa brings the action right away, infusing the book with Callie's sense of urgency to save her brother, then throws in the twist of Callie waking up, still in her renter's body.  This is where Starters really takes off, as we see the resourceful Callie trying to make sense of what has happened, along with dealing with black-outs as her renter, Helena, surges to the surface again, and trying to decipher Helena's puzzling messages.  

There's never a dull moment in Starters, as Callie races to halt the plan Helena has developed.  I loved all the suspense that Lissa Price created.  Callie only knows bits and pieces, but it's enough to terrify her, considering Helena is in HER body, and if the plan goes south, it will be Callie who's to blame.  Along with that fear is the added complication of Blake, the grandson of a powerful senator (who may or may not be connected to Helena's plan), and Callie's mixed emotions when it comes to the time she's spending with the charming Blake.  And then there is the looming possibility that Prime Destinations doesn't just want renters - they're looking for teens who are willing to let Enders become owners of their bodies, effectively giving up their lives.  Callie frantically searches to figure out who the real villain is - the Senator, the Old Man, or someone else entirely?  I thought the Old Man (someone who we never TRULY see) was a very ambiguous and awesome Big Bad and I definitely hope we see more of him in the sequel!

I did have a few issues, regrettably with Starters.  For instance, although there are several mentions of the Spore War, we only ever get the barest details.  There's so much that isn't ever explained!  I had so many questions about the War, the dangerous Spores, where they came from, who the countries were that were involved in the War, what led to it all, and so forth.  In Starters, Prime Destinations has the ability to not just "make over" people - they make them flawless.  And it's mentioned that humans have been living longer, or were before the War, so I'm also a little fuzzy on exactly what led to and why the age range is 20 - 60 post-War.  And I was unhappy with some of the decisions the other characters made, as well as that the "romance" between Callie and  Blake felt too fast.  It's explained later in the book, and I was both mad and happy at how it all turned out (yes I'm being vague!)  And I was really disappointed with how Helena's ARC turned out - I felt almost like that was just a convenient manner of dealing with her.  And there was a weird point near the end where I felt like Lissa Price took the plot in a totally unnecessary direction. 

Overall, despite some flaws, Starters has a Dollhouse-esque feel to it, with its notions of slipping effortlessly into someone else's body, and someone else's life.  Heart-pounding at times, Starters is a glossy thrill-ride that skims over the top of deeply moral questions that I hope will be further addressed in Enders, the forthcoming sequel.

Further Thoughts

Have you read Starters?  If so, what did you think?  Do we agree, or disagree?  And given that this is set in a hypothetical future, what do you think about the idea of renting out your body so that an Elder can re-experience being young?  

Note: Starters is included in a box of ARCs I am giving away in my ongoing Blog-o-versary giveaway!  Check it out here!


Lisa said...

I've been hearing interesting things about Starters. I think I'll have to give it a read. It sounds unique. Thanks for the review.

Mrs. B said...

I've just started reading this and I'm incredibly hooked. Great in-depth review. Thanks for sharing!

Jade said...

Sounds like a thrilling ride except for the few plot holes. The concept of it is definitely interesting and probably something I'd like to read in the future. Though I'm hoping the author addresses some of your concerns in the next installment.

Asher_Knight said...

I'm glad that, despite the flaws you noticed (like the lack of explanations, which would bother me too!), you still managed to enjoy this. I'm not sure I could handle the creepiness though. But with all these reviews being unleashed, my resistance is wearing out.


Mimi Valentine said...

Squee-worthy? YAY! I have to admit to not paying much attention to this book when I first heard about it, but everyone keeps raving about how amazing it is now and I'm so inclined to listen! I LOVE fast-paced books where there's never a dull moment, so I'm really excited to get sucked up into Callie's fascinating but oh-so creepy world! :)

Amazing review, Molli! Even if you did have a few issues with this book, it sounds like the good outweighs the bad! Hopefully we'll learn more about the Spore War in the next installment! ;) <3

Sharon - Obsession with Books said...

This story sounds so intriguing! I have seen it on a number of blogs now receiving a lot of praise so I will definitely have to pop it on my TBR pile.

Thank-you for your wonderful review Molli :)

PS. I love your rating system!!

Rebecca (Kindle Fever) said...

I'm so glad you ended up enjoying it, even with some flaws! I am SUPER curious by now; many seem to think it's a really great read and it does sound really good. Great review!

Kate said...

It's interesting to read your review, because my opinion of this book was totally different. The flaws you picked up on bothered me a lot, so even though there was a lot of action, which I normally like, I just couldn't get into it. However, I'm glad to see the book has a fan – I always feel a little bad writing a negative review, though of course I'd feel worse lying about it. So it's good that you liked it despite the issues!

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