Note: I read the full novel, not the six-chapter preview.
Official rating: 2.5/5
The system needs your data…
Finding out the day you’re going die and how it will happen doesn’t sound like much of a birthday present to Rae. But it’s been that way for everyone since the cryptograph was introduced.
A complex biological algorithm developed by award-winning scientists, the system can determine with precise accuracy the expiry date of every human being on the planet. Everyone is tested at sixteen, but Rae decides to opt out while she still can. Death is inevitable and despite what everyone thinks, when or how shouldn’t matter. It’s not right to label or categorize people according to their longevity – like Transients who have less than ten years left to live and are thus considered useless to society, Interims who are grudgingly tolerated, or Constants who are automatically considered elite.
But when Rae’s intentions to avoid the test are impeded and she is determined Transient, she, aided by a hacker known as Apollo, sets out to thwart the cryptograph and prove to the world that the system is rigged.
This book was interesting, it had a concept that was new (to me) while the writing had some issues. It did have descriptive language, but also mistakes in grammar, missing words, incorrect usage, and different characters without much depth. It felt like I was reading a book about children in 5th or 6th grade, it wasn’t written realistically, and the plot would have been good if it was delivered correctly. The definition of “sprinkle” to me is a light amount of something. In the mind of a two-year-old, “sprinkle” means to take handfuls of some object because “a little bit tasted/was good, so a lot will taste/be better!!” The plot wasn’t “sprinkled” with clichés unless you have the two-year-old definition of “sprinkle”. This whole book was a cliché with a cover on it.
Rae wasn’t one of the worse heroines in the book world, but certainly not the best either. She doesn’t want to take her cryptograph, because she doesn’t want to know when she’ll die and what she’ll die from. (I understand that she thinks it’s unfair to label people based on their lifespan and she’s partially correct. I wouldn’t want to know that people felt that I was “useless to society” if I had less than ten years to live. But what I don’t understand is who decided that people who have less than ten years left to live are useless and why did they decide that? What’s the point besides dragging someone’s self-esteem down over something they can’t control? And what kind of system can be immediately destroyed if one person doesn’t take their cryptograph? A pretty poorly put together system.)
I feel like the point of this book was to teach young adults to appreciate all the time that they have because since we don’t have a crytopgraph, we never know when we’re going to die. And that’s a great thing to teach, but it would have come across better if everything didn’t feel rushed and watered down by the romance.
Rae wants to wring Logan’s neck. She classifies him as a “typical jock” since he plays and enjoys football, decides he’s a jerk and he “probably just wanted to use her to get his homework done” (full quote at bottom of review), and she would never want him (all assumptions without actually knowing him). But then, after a couple of hours she’s “realizes” that he’s not like every other jock and suddenly she likes him–a lot. Please. Spare me. Then we have Logan:
I don’t know how others do it, but if I go somewhere for the first time with someone, my first thought isn’t: “Hey, I’d like to share some painful memories about my Dad with you, so we both remember our first (civil) conversation.” But that’s how Logan decided to start their “date” off. In the same day, they’re practically a couple. Logan hugs her from behind and rests his chin on her shoulder, they kiss on the sand, and Logan declares that he wants his future to be with her. What? The two have barely spoken before now, that’s a pretty big decision to make after a couple of hours. Their outing wasn’t even originally a date, Rae just didn’t want to talk to her family and she started to enjoy herself. Of course, everything is tied back to her crytopgraph because he wants to know if she will live as long as he does. The plot thickens!
Out of anything, I liked that Logan had a painful back story in his life, that made him more realistic than any of the other characters and I hope he is developed more in the later books. While I didn’t mind Rae, but I felt she didn’t have a very strong opinion. I know she doesn’t want to know her date of death, but her argument over why she doesn’t want to know and her anger and “rebelliousness” weren’t convincing. She’s so stuck on proving to everyone that she’s not taking her crytopgraph, but I honestly do see a reason as to why. I know she thinks it’s rigged, but I want to know a) why she thinks this b) why does she care? and c) everyone else seems fine with knowing when they’re going to die, why does she think she’ll spiral into depression if she knows? Maybe that’s all explained in the next book, but I think it’s important to write a book that leaves the reader with questions, not leave them questioning the whole book.
I liked that the book was short, I read it in maybe an hour so I won’t gripe about the lack of suspense too much (I saw the plot coming three light-years away, the book’s title and the definition of “transient” gave it away).
The sexual innuendo at the beginning of the book was ill-placed. It wasn’t necessary and I’m disappointed that Holloway thought that it would have been appropriate. I understand that teenagers make sexual jokes, but the joke/phrase that Holloway had the side character (even though she was Rae’s best friend, she was definitely a side character just moving the plot along) say, just wasn’t needed. It felt like one of those moments where a friend makes a joke that isn’t funny and there’s an awkward silence.
“What was that about? Probably just wanted to use her to get his homework done. Typical jock.
Wasn’t that what Logan always did, charm other people into making things easy for him. Whatever he wanted, Rae wasn’t going to make it easy. She wasn’t going to fall for the campus golden boy just because he smiled at her. Logan smiled at all the girls, and any one of them would be happy to write his English paper, just for a little extra attention from a hot boy and the bragging rights that went with it. Logan was hot all right, tall and cut and chiseled as a roman statue, but looks weren’t everything. Rae didn’t have anything against jocks, necessarily,but she didn’t like being used or conned or charmed into cheating some boy into an A he didn’t deserve.” (Then she goes on to talk about the rumors that say at least half the guys on the football team are sleeping around, is this what our young adult books have come to?)
(Location in Kindle app: 655)
“He [Logan] flashed his famous jock smile. “No, I think maybe we were both right. Why don’t we talk about it some more? We have that paper due tomorrow and thought maybe we could catch up after class or something, and put our heads together.”
“…and I’m not hanging out with you after, and we’re not banging heads.” She [Rae] stormed off, leaving Logan in her wake.
Jenny was laughing when she caught up with her. “That was amazing. You’re not banging heads. Wow! Nice one. Believe me, if there’s any guy I’d like to bang heads–or any other body parts–with, it’s Logan Suttor.”
“Oh, just stop it.”
“He likes you, Rae. You should go bang with him. Heads, I mean. It might do you some good.”
“As if Logan Suttor ever did any girl any good.”
“Well, if you don’t want him…” Jenny replied with a knowing smile.
Rae rolled her eyes. “You can have him.””
(Location in Kindle app: 603-635)