It has been nearly two decades since the breakout of the Third World War, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp ruled by island native Rolladin, who controls the city’s survivors with an iron fist. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the Central Park POW camp is the only home she’d ever want.
When strangers arrive in the park, carrying a shocking message, Sky and Phee discover there’s more to Manhattan—and their family—than either of them had imagined. As disturbing secrets about the island begin to surface, Sky and Phee have no choice but to break the rules to uncover the full truth of their long-shrouded history. When their search for answers erupts into violence, the girls must flee into Manhattan’s depths, where their quest for a better future will force them to confront the island’s dark and shocking past.
Lee Kelly’s gripping debut novel is a pulse-pounding journey through a city that’s as strange as it is familiar, where nothing is black-and-white and buried secrets can haunt.
Description taken from Goodreads.
The first 100 pages, give or take about 20 pages, were fantastic. Some of the best first 100 pages that I’ve read all year. I couldn’t put the book down, and I was looking forward to every next word.
It was, in a word, glorious.
And than it took a turn for the worst, and kept on heading downward until it hit The Darkest Hour status. And by The Darkest Hour status, I mean it was something along the lines of what the New York Times called “yet another depressing failure of imagination.”
Not only was it completely lacking in its plot (despite its fantastic world-building and setting), but NOTHING REALLY HAPPENED. It was all cliché, trying-too-hard-to-be-heartbreaking, meaningless plot events that circled around again and again for way longer than was necessary. And then there were the characters.
Phee and Sky started out great, so I don’t know exactly what happened. In the beginning of the book, I was surprised that I was able to keep them straight. They didn’t blend together, and they had their own personalities. They depended on each other and hated each other. I thought it was a great sisterly relationship, and I loved Phee’s personality in particular, though I understood Sky.
And then we reached the point where everything started going downhill. In the beginning, it was an easy one event leads to another style. That was great. Because of many complications, Phee ends up working as a warlord for the leader of the POW camp. I was looking forward to seeing her transformation, and I hoped that we could see more life within the city and the struggles that Phee and Sky have to go through.
Instead, the plot started shifting into a contest to see who could be the most irrational and dull. All character growth ground to a halt, and the supporting characters started becoming cardboard cut-outs (including the love interest). And I’m not even going to mention the romance because it’s not worth it, it was so completely irrelevant and predictable.
In fact, most of the events of the story ended up being predictable. The big twist revealed by the journal entries was soiled by the fact that I had already guessed it, and the twist wasn’t utilized to its full potential. While this one was interesting, and had a ton of potential, it completely fell short for me and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. 1 star.
pg count for the hardback: 410