Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian, Thriller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Series: Linked #1
Source: From Publisher for Review
Reviewed by: Lili
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.
Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.
Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.
Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.
I think that this was one of my most anticipated reads from 2013 for two reasons: look at that attention-grabbing synopses and look at that beautiful cover. Both drew me in immediately. And while I have to admit that Howson was able to come up with a solid debut, it left me wanting a little more. While definitely satisfactory, I think that certain things hindered this book from reaching its true potential because its science fiction plot-line can rival some of the best.
The plot in this one was absolutely glorious. The thought behind it was mesmerizing, but it took me awhile to be mesmerized. See, the first 80 pages of this book dragged on for me. I texted a fellow reader at exactly page 84 to announce that it’s picking up, and from there it never slowed down. But it was hard to get through those first 80. They weren’t professionally paced the way the rest of the book was and, on top of that, I spent most of the book confused. I could figure out what was going on way before the main character did, but my issue was mainly with the world-building. I didn’t understand what was going on at all with the world-building and can honestly say I was slightly lost. And while I understand a lot more now upon completion of the book, I still have a few more questions to be answered. Mainly, what happened that made humans have to start colonizing other planets? Is Earth still there or did it blow up or something or hit an ice age? I’d love to know what made all of this necessary… If anyone has trouble with the rocky beginning, it’s truly worth continuing because the rest of the plot is strong.
For the most part, the characterization was solid as well. I enjoyed Lissa’s characterization because despite being physically and emotionally frail, she was morally strong and determined. She was genuine and had a great concern for others. Unfortunately, she was also completely oblivious at times. For example, if you’re on the run, you don’t call your family. The odds that they’re not being tracked by the people hunting you are next to nothing. However, Lin completely blew me away. This girl was so easy to trust Lissa, the only person she knew in her bleak existence, and she was strong in her own way. She was a newborn to the world and watching her learn to stand on her own two feet was amazing. Seeing her make her own decisions, learn how to determine right from wrong, and grow was done perfectly. And then there are characters like Cadan. You love him and hate him all at once because despite being one of the elder characters, his emotions were flipping back and forth at hyperspeed the way a young kid’s would. I also have to say that I found it interesting that Howson characterized Lissa’s parents the way she did. One was pretty much understanding and forgiving and the other was cold and stubborn. Whenever there was a comparison between their actions in regards to Lissa’s journey and Lin’s existence, it got you thinking a lot. This book certainly does make you question things like human rights and morality and Howson was able to establish such thoughts through them.
The ending was great. It simultaneously satisfied me and left me curious to know what happens next with the promise of more crazy-awesome space travel to ensue in book two as well as the promise of a possible romance blooming that I’d love to explore. It’s true what they say, passionate emotions erupt in times of great distress, and this book illustrates just that. And while this book wasn’t entirely what I expected, I did enjoy it and I’m definitely curious to see what Howson has in store for us. While not perfect, this is a debut that will certainly allow Howson to stand out as an emerging young adult sci-fi author to look out for. And most importantly, it makes you think.