Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: Perception

Title: Perception
Author: Lee Strauss
Genre: YA, Science fiction

Rating: 1/5 stars





I hate giving books one-star ratings - there is usually a lot of work that goes into writing a novel, and I try to respect that by trying to look for something I liked or at least appreciated in what I'm reading. Unfortunately, I didn't find that something in this book.

The premise seemed right up my alley. Zoe Vanderveen is a genetically altered person (a GAP - cheesy name, but I can overlook that) whose brother goes missing. After a rather sinister turn of events, Zoe is no longer sure who to trust and who to believe. She ends up relying on Noah Brody, a "natural" whose grandfather initially collaborated with hers to create the concept of GAPs, but spoke out against it for ethical reasons.

All of this sounds quite intriguing, but the novel itself failed to deliver. The characters were very flat, and I could not find any redeeming qualities in Zoe. Not only was she naive, she was terribly vain. She is condescending and intolerant of people and cultures that don't fit the supposedly superior "blonde hair blue eyes" theme; at one point she mentions how surprised she is that people still find her attractive when she has brown hair and brown eyes. Everything about her was very superficial; she was constantly tossing her blonde hair or fluttering her eyelashes in hopes of getting people to do what she wanted. If all else failed, she'd offer money from her endless financial resources to get the job done. I wouldn't have been bothered so much by Zoe if she had grown or become less vain and superficial as the story progressed. Although she mentions towards the end of the book, "I'm not like those girls. I've changed!", it's clear that she hasn't. She still thinks she can use her pretty face and cash reserves to get things done, and is still heavily influenced by the stereotypes and behaviors she claims she has abandoned.

None of the characters really had much depth. Liam disappears, and the parents are numb but don't really do anything to help the situation or comfort their daughter. Zoe grieves for two seconds before deciding to find out what happened to her brother. Jackson had a major hand in Liam's fate, and his revelation is a 30 second conversation with Zoe. No shock, no raw emotion, no depression, nothing! There were a lot of chapter endings that seemed very abrupt. Someone would say something offhand, and then the chapter would end. There was not much sense of an emotional impact or rising tension, and the consequences of what people do are hardly touched on.[Show Spoiler]

I felt that the change in POV towards the end of the novel was unnecessary. Again, there was so much potential in this situation, but instead it became a creepy guy kidnapping the girl he supposedly loves (I say "supposedly" because he decides to go after her by throwing a dart and seeing if it hits the mark...). As I mentioned earlier, there was no real sense of consequence or emotional trauma. Noah does some creepy stuff and Zoe magically believes all the stories he tells her.

Finally, the science and faith debate seemed very contrived. Rather than showing multi-layered viewpoints or presenting questions for the reader to answer for themselves, the novel's take on the debate was a series of five sentence conversations. The conclusion of these appears to be something along the lines of "You may be genetically engineered but you still have a soul and I love you!"

This novel could have used with some more editing as well; I caught a couple of misplaced punctuation marks. 

I'm very disappointed in this book because it had so much potential but did not deliver.

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review*

2 comments:

  1. Hi, I just saw your post on the YA Book Club group on Goodreads and thought I'd check out your blog. You're off to a great start!!

    One thing that would be helpful is a picture of the cover to go with your reviews - you can copy the pic from Goodreads and paste it into your review really easily.

    I'm now following you via GFC. Happy blogging!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the advice Nicole! I will see if I can go back and add covers. I took a look at your blog too, and it looks amazing. I'm following you too :)

      Delete

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