Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: Feuds by Avery Hastings

In this breathless story of impossible love, perfection comes at a deadly cost. For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or “Imps.” A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother’s legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears. Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he’s a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father’s campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him. Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold--and Davis’s friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her world...in Avery Hastings's Feuds. Hardcover, 272 pagesPublished September 2nd 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin(info grabbed from GoodReads)

Feuds is a set in a future with a dystopian hierarchy based on if you're an upgraded human or not.  There are essentially two levels: super humans (Priors) and normal people (Imps), with normal people being the underbelly of society.  Davis is a Prior with aims of being a ballerina and competing in the Olympiads, who unknowingly falls in love with an Imp, Cole.  There is the complication of Priors getting sick with Narxis and a bunch of other stuff that's not that important to the story.

Honestly there is a lot going on and nothing at all at the same time.

The entire story -- world building, characters, plot, setting, everything -- took a back seat to the romance.  And while that might not necessarily be a bad thing, the romance wasn't that spectacular of a read.  It was insta-love.  There was no witty banter or chemistry between characters; just all of sudden they would be making out.  The conversation to make out session ratio was way off.  Halfway through the book, they have kissed several times and had one instance of actual dialogue.  I kid you not.  One.  Meaningful.  Conversation.  How can anyone take such a relationship seriously or rally behind the characters?  I would have liked to have read a less hormone induced romance.

Characters in the story were little more than plot devices or foils.  There was no depth to a single character other than Davis or the romantic interest, Cole.  For example, when Vera, one of Davis's friends, brings up DirecTalk, it doesn't feel like a conversation between friends; it was an excuse to explain a piece of technology in the world.  So while yes, she does have some purpose (of sorts), there are no real feelings of friendship and she doesn't move the plot in any way.  The sad thing is that Vera is the most defined "friend" character.

Speaking of DirecTalk, there is very little technology or world building to speak of.  DirecTalk is one of the only technological advancements to speak of and it's only cell phones disguised as jewelry.  The futuristic dystopian setting felt like a filter laid over the story to add interest and cause problems for the relationship of Davis and Cole.  Other than mentioning a tech here and there, it's never explored how the future is different.  There's also corrupt government officials, including Davis our main character's father, but that's not really addressed either.

I was not impressed with Feuds to say the least.  The writing was not fluid and immersive, the characters were one dimensional and inconsequential to the story, and the plot -- what plot?  The background, setting, and everything else that was interesting in the book was skimmed over.  But even the parts that were interesting formed together into another generic mediocre dystopian novel.  There is nothing worth reading in this novel.  The end.

Final Thought: 2 out of 5 toadstools.

This review is also posted on GoodReads

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