Kindle Price: $2.99
Official Rating: 4/5
“After a viral attack from Screechers left the Earth desolate, a safe house rose from the disease ridden ground; a place where people are protected from the virus and the wrath of the creatures that delivered it to their doorstep. Life outside of the man-made walls of Containment became a distant memory.
Eighteen-year-old Reverence Arthur is thirsty to escape the Container she has spent her entire life in and bring justice to the Screechers. When she becomes the first female to join the Watch, the Containment military, enduring cat-calls while she showers is the least of her problems. The Watch has fired shots declaring war, her cold shouldered mother has become particularly arctic, and a rumor about her father, a Watch General killed in action, raises questions about the motives of the officials within Containment.
Then, amid the battle for Earth, Reverence sees a human. A living, breathing human surviving unprotected in a world where the air is toxic, and she uncovers a truth about her home that is vile enough to kick-start a war of its own.”
I was completely caught off guard because of Contained. My expectations were admittedly lowered when I saw the usual one-word title (that are on most dystopian books), the words ‘Screechers’ and ‘Watcher,’ and the heroine’s first name, Reverence. I was expecting a generic dystopia, where there’s some type of war against some type of creature that is out to kill humans and the heroine is named differently than everyone and is the only one with questions and eventually starts a rebellion. When I say, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed, I truly mean it.
I did roll my eyes at Reverence’s name, but half-way undid my eye-roll when I saw that there were other out of the ordinary names like “Force,” “Brute,” and “Apollo.” I appreciated Reverence, much more than I thought I would. She wasn’t a perfect heroine with no flaws who immediately steps up to any challenge. Instead, she was an eighteen year old girl who had many questions, a rebellious streak, but a rather good head on her shoulder. She was a leader, an actual one. Her leadership abilities weren’t something she was conveniently blessed with and everyone wanted to follow her like mindless zombies. Reverence earned respect and her role as a leader. She didn’t cry when things got hard, she understood that she had to have a cool and calm exterior, even if she was falling apart inside. I recall her crying maybe four times, twice it was somewhat detailed and once it was merely mentioned. I said four because I like even numbers. Reverence preserved, didn’t allow hormones or ridiculous love triangles get in her way of being the heroine she is, and made great decisions under pressure. She had obvious room for improvement, but it made her realistic.
I loved the other characters as well. From Sergeant Powell to Brute, I adored them all and what they brought to the table. They were genuine, unique, varied in personality and strengths and weaknesses, and were the definition of a devoted team. Not a single one was a plot pusher or a filler, mentioned once and then forgotten, nor were there any other common mistakes made with characters. Green did a wonderful job creating them.
First and foremost, I have to give Green credit for coming up with a reason why Reverence doesn’t menstruate. I won’t give any spoilers, but in most Young Adult novels, the main female character never seems to have her period. No matter how many days, weeks, or months go by, she never has a crippling pain in her abdomen. Green’s writing skills are superb and they shone brightly in Contained. Admittedly, I saw a few mistakes in some sentences, words and punctuation missing, but nothing that halted my journey through Reverence’s life. Green wrote Contained with a fast pace, but took care to make sure there weren’t any loose ends, unanswered questions, or undeveloped information. I believe that any book in a series (I assume this is a series, the ending hints towards it) should always end at a point where if the reader wants to continue, they can, but if they don’t, they won’t have an overwhelming amount of questions unanswered. The plot had a twist that I didn’t completely foresee and I loved it. I think what I disliked the most was the blatant sexism in the story. After the virus, one guy takes over and convinces everyone that a woman’s sole purpose is to breed. It’s frowned upon if a woman hasn’t had children after she turns sixteen and men are supposed to have as many children with a single woman (their only rule is that they can only reproduce with one woman) as they can, but they aren’t required to marry her. Only men are allowed to be recruited to be a Watcher, as Reverence puts it, “…we [women] must stay put and pop out little humans to increase the population.” Why is that? Why would every single woman have to have babies? Was there no resistance to this at all? Why would women just calmly accept that they have no other purpose besides making children and bringing in a few extra rations? Even when Reverence can no longer menstruate, her first thought is, “What man will want to be with me knowing I can’t reproduce?” I was disappointed after reading that. Reverence is such a strong character, if anyone, I would have wanted her to recognize that her worth isn’t based on whether or not she’s capable of reproducing. I felt that there should have been a different reason as to why Reverence is the first and only woman to be recruited to join the Watch. The reason that was given wasn’t strong enough for me. Besides that, I did enjoy the romance. It didn’t interfere with the main plot, there was no love triangle, and it was introduced gently and subtly, until you’re quietly rooting for them. There are no cheesy, intense-stare filled moments, but rather sincere and endearing moments that are rather rare, but are appreciated. Green’s amazing execution deserves an applause.
I was sincerely captivated by Contained. I appreciated the detail that Green provided, the lack of info-dumping, the world building, the characters, and the plot itself. It’s been mentioned many times that I don’t like series and rarely do I continue them after the first book, but if I was ever handed a free copy of the sequel (although there is no mention of one), I would read it.