What a provocative premise! I was really intrigued from the start about a girl who lives in such a dangerous world that she has to avoid institutionalized rape by losing her V-card to someone of her choosing on an emergency act of defiance.
I wanted to know more about the reasons why these times are so violent and sexually deviant, or how she would manage to escape forced intercourse.
Would the novel be too crass or just skim its potential?
Luckily, none of those things.
ROMANTIC DYSTOPIA FOR MATURE YA READERS.
In post-apocalyptic North America, rape and sexual slavery are legal. Lila Velez, desperately wants to lose her virginity before the troops visit her town and can take it away by force. She makes plans to seduce her only friend, Rey, the most attractive man in her town. Lila does not love him, but he is the only man who has shown her true affection, an affection she is willing to take as a substitute of love.Lila’s coping mechanism to her mother’s rape and kidnapping is her secret. A secret that will bring her closer to Aleksey, a foreign, broody man that she distrusts because his links to the troops and his rough, yet irresistible appearance. He offers Lila an alternative to her plans, a possibility that terrifies her…and tempts her in spite of herself.All the while Lila will have to find a way to live in the constant company of death, slavery, starvation, sexual abuse and the danger of losing the people she loves the most.Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
I must say that the writing style is solid and believable. The author creates a harsh atmosphere that explains the politics, the historical background that led to a broken society of poverty, enforced recruitment and abhorrent treatment of young ones. Even though sex, consensual or not, is paramount in the plot of the story, it is masterfully portrayed as a key element in the characters' decision-making, as well as how it affects every day life and social conduct. Among war, lack of food, political schemes, bombarding, and medical needs, Lila and her family struggle to survive surrounded by fear, injustice, and the constant threat of troops coming to tear their lives apart.
I liked how detailed this dystopian society is without cramming the text. The world-building is clear and comprehensive with its technology gadgets, military power and racial bias. The scenes are full of natural dialogues, tense encounters and action. There's never a dull moment thanks to a main character who's determined, strong and plagued with emotions of guilt, desire and bravery.
Lila is a fighter, though she wants to control her life and tries to become strong to defend herself, or choose the way she loses her V-card on her own terms. Feeling from rape, she finds herself between her best friend, Rey, who can't seem to love her as she needs, and a monstrous, but strangely chivalrous cop, Aleksey. Both are complicated relationships, yet I loved them. Feelings and doubts play a major role in how all three interact. I think these characters acted very realistically. Though my favourite not-a-couple-yet is Lila and Aleksey because the chemistry between them is off the charts and challenging. Still, the connection is palpable, but it was so frustrating the amount of obstacles that made it impossible to go all the way!
I was moved by the terrible events that reflect the violent acts perpetrated by soldiers and powerful men. There are some harsh scenes of abuse and torture that linger after you stop reading.
Every scene in the story was interesting to me because the plot is so well-balanced. There is enough tension and danger to keep me in my toes. Of course, the steamy moments are plenty and gracefully depicted. Though I appreciated that the character development as well as feelings and thoughts appear real and well thought-out.
Despite some minor misspellings and awkward use of commas, the flow of the story didn't lose a bit and I was engrossed from start to finish.
OMG! When I reached the end, I literally yelled at the ceiling. Wy, oh why is this a first book? The author has drilled a hole in me. I thought I'd have a resolution for Lila's struggle between freedom and slavery, but alas no, I'm left hollow with no answers until a second book.
Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this sensual, clever and well-developed dystopian adventure full of thought-provoking ideas and very real, flawed characters.
I want to feel that someone cares for me during my most vulnerable moments.A threat is only as strong as the fear of the threatened.You should never act against yourself.