Review: Wasteland by Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan
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Genre: Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Teen
Expected Publication: March 26,2013
Review Copy Provided by: Edelweiss
Welcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disesase and brutal attacks by the Variants—hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin. Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.
Age five start work, Age fourteen find a partner, Age seventeen considered an Elder and Age nineteen.... Congrats you're now Dead. Imagine a world where no adults exist. Almost every baby born dies and those that don't face a life of hardship under the ever relentless sun. Childhood follies we take for granted cease to exist. The only thing you know is a life filled with back breaking work, rampant disease, dwindling supplies and mutants called Variants that roam the Wasteland. This is the world Esther lives in and this is the world she's hoping to change.
Wasteland starts off so promising, the first 20 or so pages I was hooked. That was until Esther heads back to her hometown of Prin. Usually I complain about not enough back story or slow pacing. Wasteland however had the problem of way to much information being introduced to quickly. The pacing was out of this world and I don't mean that in a good way. Everything felt rushed like the Authors knew they had content they wanted to introduce but refused to budge the page count to actually fit it all in properly, 213 pages is nowhere near enough for the amount of content they tried cramming into the book.
While Wasteland suffers greatly from the erratic pacing it is the main protagonist Esther who truly makes this book hard to get through. Esther is one of the WORST female protagonists I've encountered to date. She is spoiled, rude, ungrateful and worst of all LAZY!! Esther's only saving grace was the relationship she had with the towns outcast Joseph but that barely made her tolerable as she didn't treat him that much better than anyone else to self absorbed in her own world to even pay him much mind.
Another thing that I didn't like about Wasteland was the glaringly obvious romantic pairing between her and Caleb. Yeah, I get it he's the main male protagonist and therefore should be paired with the main female but they had literally no romantic build up beside a couple brief lines here or there. Which of course brings me back to my original point of to much information not enough time.
Now with that being said I did find some things enjoyable. I actually found the Hermaphroditic Variants interesting and the whole choosing a sex at 10 was kinda neat. I would of liked to follow the Variant society over the town of Prin that's for sure. I also think the revelations revolving around Joseph, his hotel and the town of Prin were pretty cool. Joseph by far was the best part of the book but considering he's only in about 30% of it I'm not really sure if that's really a positive thing.
Overall, I give Wasteland an A for effort but a F in execution. Will I continue this series? Yeah, probably. What can I say, I'm always hopeful things will turn around with the second book. However, Would I recommend someone buy it? Eh.... I would strongly suggest borrowing from a friend or library before purchasing. Buyer beware on this one, just saying. In the end, I will be rating Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan ★★★.