What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. (From: Goodreads)
***Actual Rating: 4.5/5 Legendary Stars***
PS. MILD SPOILER ALERT!
If you want to rebel, rebel from inside the system.
This is my first Marie Lu’s book and I’m glad it doesn’t disappoint me. Although it’s published a long time ago, I still think the plot and story setting are fresh and unique.
Honestly, I personally think the beginning of the story is very slow-paced, partly because it alternates the POVs between June (the female protagonist) and Day (the male main character) and partly because it takes time to build a fictional world here. Besides, I’m not used to the duo POVs, so it also results in my slowly-developed fondness of the book.
Everything starts to pick up when June’s dearest older brother, Metias, is killed allegedly by “the most wanted criminal” (no one knows what he looks like), Day. It’s heart-wrenching how the author manipulates the readers to feel and think what she wants us all to feel and think at one time, and manages to take a sharp turn in the story afterward. Moreover, because of all the investigations and clues June is able to collect, either by herself or from working as a government agent, I love the detective parts of the book so much that I think I’ll be enjoying more detective stories from now on.
Even though I’ve suspected someone to be the real murderer of Metias, there are other aspects behind this that are beyond my comprehension. I mean, the why remains uncertain in the end of the book. I suppose it’s because the government wants to use June, who gets 1,500/1,500 scores on her Trial test and is also an unmistakable prodigy, to track Day and lure him out by offering the medical vial he so desperately needs for his plagued brother. Once she succeeds in doing so, they’ll put some disguise and works on Day secretly because June finds out that he actually receives the same score as her on Trial but his report card is tampered with and marked as FAILED instead. Whatever the reason the government has in mind, I’m sure there’s more to come and the whole plague isn’t as simple as it seems.
Obviously, a story can’t be a good one without some romance! Thus, before Metias dies, I literally think June will end up with his friend and worker, Thomas, judging from his always kind and friendly attitude toward her.
I stopped trying to convince him to call me June—he’ll never change. Still, it’s not so bad being called something proper. Maybe when I’m older and Metias doesn’t faint at the idea of me dating…
However, after determined to hunt and retaliate against Day, June falls in love with him without realizing the very guy, who has long, white-blond hair and striking mismatched blue eyes, is Day himself.
”Ms. Iparis told me about what you did to her on the streets. How dare you force yourself onto someone her rank.”
Ah. Here is what’s really bothering him—I guess he found out about the kiss. I can’t help grinning, even though my face screams in pain. “Awww. Is that what’s got you down? I’ve seen the way you look at her. You want her bad, yeah? Is that something you’re also trying to earn your way up to, trot? Hate to burst your bubble, but I didn’t for her into anything.”
All I can say is that I’m really looking forward to their further relationship because both of them are brilliant strategists and prodigies and seeing them work together as a team (maybe) is going to be undoubtedly spectacular. What’s more, who knows how powerful June will be as long as she’s with Day since she’s probably the only one “out there” who has the truth underneath the entire world of plague and such circumstances.
I dress in my full uniform. I make sure my hair is pulled back flawlessly, that my face is clean and calm and devoid of emotion. In the mirror, I look the same. But I am a different person inside. I’m a prodigy who knows the truth, and I know exactly what I’m going to do.
Last but not least, why I don’t grant it a solid 5/5 stars is because I feel a little bit emotionally untouched by the author’s way of description and story-telling. I can’t fully relate to either June or Day’s feeling throughout the book and sometimes I really want to experience that! Therefore, despite the only imperfection for me, the rest of the story deserves even more readers and much love.