Review: Riot by Sarah Mussi
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Hodder's Children's
Publication Date: May 1, 2014
It is 2018. England has been struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.
The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.
The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.
The country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt, but the politicians are unshakeable: The population explosion must be curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.
But it is all so blatantly unfair - the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won't.
It's time for the young to take to the streets. It's time for them to RIOT:
OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE, OUR BODIES, OUR FUTURE!
"I believe the children are our future.
Arm them well, and help them fight for their rights."
Riot follows the story of a hacker named Tia who under the guise of her username Eve starts a revolution with her Hands Off: My Body, My Choice campaign. Along with teen criminal hottie Cobain it's up to Tia to stop the one man who can put an end to all this No More Children In Need bill. Easier said than done considering that man also happens to be her farther.
Riot should of been a great book. It certainly had all the makings of being one. So why am I left feeling so underwhelmed?
I think my main problem with Riot stems from the direction the book takes early on. What I thought was going to be a near future dystopian ended up being an action adventure romance with dystopian type elements thrown in for good measure. Not necessarily a bad thing but certainly not what I was expecting or wanting to read either.
Another thing I didn't like was the hacker aspect. Tia is supposed to be gifted at it yet is easily duped by her mysterious mentor. I mean c'mon girl you can't be that gullible. It was frustrating and ruined some very key moments for me.
What however really grinds my gears is the romance. It was so unbelievably forced and unnecessary. Why did Tia need Cobain even in the first place? Yes, he rescues her from being burned alive but afterwards they could've easily parted ways and it wouldn't of hurt the plot one bit. To further explain my issue, in the beginning Tia seems so sure of herself. She's planned everything out to stay undetected by tbtb and yet here comes Cobain and suddenly she can't figure the simplest things out for herself and needs him to rescue her more times than I can count. Maybe the romance wouldn't of bugged me so much if it was subtle but this insta love bs just is not appealing to me. I can't count the times I rolled my eyes at the pair thinking to myself "Get a room already!". One kiss and your soul mates, destined to be together? Yeah right. This ain't no Disney movie.
Now despite it's flaws I did actually really enjoy parts of Riot.
First off, I actually think the fact it was set nearly in present day made sense. Whether you live in the U.K. , the U.S. or somewhere else entirely if you have socialized welfare people will abuse it. So for all intents and purposes it isn't such a far stretch to imagine those same leaders becoming tiresome of it and wanting to enact a radical change such as the one proposed in Riot.
Secondly, aside from her interactions with Cobain I liked Tia. Sure she was a bit of a damsel in distress at times but that didn't make her a bad character. I think she just lived a very sheltered life and maybe was a bit more impulsive than say you or me because of that.
Lastly, I think the action in the later half of the book was great. While the book has action throughout it is simply written better in the back half than it was in the front. I found myself eye rolling way too much when those blasted helicopters came around for it all to be enjoyable.
Did I enjoy Riot? Sure. Am I glad that I read it? Yes. However, would I rush out to buy a copy or even recommend others do the same? Probably not. Truth of the matter is that while Riot is a good book it didn't bring anything new to the table that hasn't been done before and more importantly better. Would I still recommend reading it? Of course. Like I said it was good. Just maybe borrow from a friend or library before purchasing. With that being said, I'll be rating Riot by Sarah Mussi ★★★.
*Copy provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.
About the Author
Sarah Mussi was born in Gloucestershire. After her education at a girl’s school in Cheltenham, she completed a post graduate degree at the Royal College of Art before leaving the UK for West Africa. She lived in Ghana, West Africa for over eighteen years, marrying a Ghanaian and teaching in Accra. Sarah now lives in Brixton and teaches in Lewisham, splitting her holidays between England and Ghana.