Word Spelunking

Starters - Lissa Price MY REVIEW: Lissa Price’s Starters is an ingeniously crafted dystopian that is as striking and startling as its wonderfully creepy (and shiny!) cover.Teenager Callie Woodland is left to take care of her little brother after everybody between the ages of 20-60 are wiped out in the Spore Wars, including her parents. Callie, her brother Tyler and their friend Michael squat in abandoned buildings, fighting amongst other Starters (teens) for food, water and shelter, while wealthy Enders (old people) live an extravagant lifestyle. Callie learns of Prime Destinations, a company that rents out the bodies of Starters to Enders who want to feel young again. Desperate for money, Callie signs up with Prime Destinations, but something goes wrong and she wakes up in the life of her wealthy renter. Callie soon finds herself caught up in the world of rich renters and discovers that her renter has deadly motives and wants to use Callie’s body to act out these plans. She also uncovers the truth behind Prime Destination’s ultimate goal and must go up against the mysterious Old Man.Highly original, smartly written and utterly enthralling, Starters is an incredibly impressive debut that I had me reading into the wee hours of the morning. Price offers readers an awesome mix of dystopia, sci-fi, action, mystery and even a bit of romance.Fast paced, the story moves quickly and at times I did wish the story flowed a bit slower and was fleshed out more. Price’s world-building is great though; she has crafted a layered, believable post-war world that is equal parts startling and entrancing. I found the whole idea of renting out bodies to be so intriguing and thought-provoking and Price develops this idea really well. The story itself has moments of edge-of-your-seat suspense, addictive mystery and gasp-worthy “OMG” revelations. Price’s characters are wonderfully compelling. The story is told from Callie’s perspective, so it is imperative that she’s a character readers will like and connect with, and they will! She’s easy to root for and impossible not to sympathize with; I really loved getting to know her. There are several important supporting characters and they are all well developed, realistic and engaging in their own ways. And Price has crafted really layered and surprising villains. One of the things that captivated my attention most is the relationship between Callie and Tyler. The fierce, unbreakable love between these siblings is as breathtaking as it is heartbreaking at times. Callie does have a few romantic interests, but it is her love for her brother that touched me most. But that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the romantic aspects; I did, for the most part. I don’t want to spoil anyone, but I will say that there is one Calli/? relationship that I’m rooting for and one that I’m wary of, but intrigued to see where it goes. I do wish we were given more backstory and history on some things, especially about the Spore Wars, and I’m hoping there will be more information given in future books. The book ends with as many mysteries as it began with, and Price’s cliffhanger ending is epically awesome and frustrating.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: With a story full of moments of explosive and electric action, mystery and twists and subtle thought-provoking themes that will stay with readers long after they close the book, Lissa Price’s Starters is a fascinating and well-written debut novel that should not be missed.

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