Welcome, all! I am so very pleased and honored to be talking about an enticing little (though not really little because it is actually quite long) novel titled, THE UNION!
When I read the synopsis for this book I knew it was something I had to read. It had romance, action, government secrets, the works. And though it did have its faults, overall, it was a pretty good book!
Before I go into the review, I want to give a big THANK YOU to those at Ink Slinger PR who allowed People Like Books to be a part of something as great as this blog tour. Also, thank you to T.H. Hernandez for letting all blogging participants involved to be part of your novel’s journey!
And now, the review…
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Released on: November 18th, 2014
Buy the Book:
After global warming and a second civil war devastated the former United States, two different societies rose from the ashes – the Union, a towering high-tech utopia, hugging the perimeter of the continent, and the devastated, untamed midsection known as the Ruins.
Seventeen-year-old Evan Taylor has an easy, privileged life in the Union. What she doesn’t have is any idea what to do with the rest of her life. She only knows she wants to do something meaningful, to make a difference in the lives of others.
When she’s kidnapped and taken into the Ruins as a pawn in a dispute involving her boyfriend, Bryce, her ideal world is turned upside down. What she learns while in the Ruins shakes her faith in everything she’s ever known, from Bryce, to her family, and even the Union itself.
Now Evan must choose whether to stay with Cyrus, the sexy, resourceful survivor who believes she’s in the Ruins for a reason, or return to the only life she’s ever known. But when she stumbles upon a dangerous plot that threatens both worlds, her decision could tear her apart.
The Union is a futuristic young adult romantic adventure.
To start, I think we all need to take a minute to appreciate how gorgeous the cover is. I mean, really. Wow. If that doesn’t catch your eye enough, the synopsis should be able to do the rest!
The book opens with our main protagonist, Evan (cool name, by the way), and when she comes trudging down the stairs in yoga pants and ratty t-shirt, I knew I was going to like her. And I did. For the most part. It wasn’t until the end that I started to feel if-y about her, but I’ll get into that in a moment. Back to the characters…
I didn’t like Bryce. Not for a second. Not even from the moment I read his name on the page. Bryce isn’t a trust-worthy name. And trust him I did not. Maybe that’s how his character was supposed to read from the book but his character fell extremely flat and felt one dimensional. Besides our main character, the only other characters I really liked were her best friends. They were so best friend material that I could feel their love and friendship bursting through the pages. I couldn’t really connect with Cyrus at all. We don’t learn too much about him and when it seems like we’re finally going to be getting some in depth knowledge, we don’t read about it. It comes off as “we talked for hours and hour.” Like, okay? But can we get some more info here? Other than that, I really liked the main character….up until the end. Which I’ll talk about now.
There are certain aspects I feel, as a new outsider in a new stranger world, that one should pick up on. Evan picks up certain skills, like she can do the dishes…and avoid rocks…and read to the kids…and, oh yeah, she learns to work the fields! But outside of those activities, I felt like she never really put them into practice. I’m trying to explain this best I can without spoiling, but basically, whenever Evan finds herself in a dangerous situation, she doesn’t apply anything that she’s learned. She turns back into a scared little outsider who can’t fend for herself. I would really like to see that change in the second book!
The pacing of the book was too slow for me. There’s a whole middle portion of the book that I felt would have been better cut out, or just cut in half, really. Just certain scenes that didn’t feel necessary. That kind of segways me into the romance of the book. As you know, I did not like Bryce. AT ALL. And although Cyrus really isn’t any better in terms of character personality, he’s much better than Bryce. STILL, I do feel this book would have been better without the romance! Crazy as that sounds because nowadays no one can even fathom the idea of a young adult novel with no romance, but I do feel the romance wasn’t working in this book. It was subpar, at best. But, who knows? Maybe that will change in book two where the characters have more room to grow!
Upon first reading it, I shut my eyes and cursed the skies because I did not like the ending. But. With further analysis (basically me just stewing and trying to figure out why the author ended it there for multiple hours), I realized it was actually a pretty good ending. I complained at first saying “Nothing was solved!!!” But in fact, something was. At the start of the book we had this young girl character who was trying to find out where she fit in in her world. By the end, she’s found her purpose, her calling, her reason to do what needs to be done basically. At that was the conflict that was solved. Of course that issue is still going to be an issue in the next book but, for now, it has its ending. So, I liked that.
The world building was FANTASTIC. Seriously. Everything else aside, I can give the author a big kudos and a Snickers bar for her world building. You can tell she really thought everything out and I appreciated that so much. There was the futuristic tools, the trains, the provinces, the Ruins, the markets – all beautifully done. There were some questions I had about some of the world building that never really got addressed, and I won’t mention them here because S P O I L E R S. But I hope that gets answered in book two, if not I’ll have to get in contact with the author about this.
Overall, not a bad read. There were some things it could do without, but in the end, it is was it is and it was not bad at all.
MY RATING: 3.5/5
T.H. Hernandez Bio:
When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside my head, I live in San Diego, California, with one husband, three children, two cats, and one dog. In addition to my day job as a technical writer and editor, I write young adult fiction. I love the intensity of teen emotions and the way they’re still figuring out life.
When I’m not writing, you can find me with my nose in a book, hanging out with family and friends, hiking, or knitting. I’m obsessed with Facebook, young adult novels, bad lip reading videos, pumpkin spice lattes, microbrewed beers, and the San Diego Chargers.