Thursday, March 6, 2014

Early Review: The Wicked We Have Done (Chaos Theory #1) by Sarah Harian

Release Date: March 8, 2014
Publisher: Penguin/InterMix Books
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Twitter | Website Goodreads

Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.
If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.
Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.
She doesn’t plan on making friends.
She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

The Wicked We Have Done is a good example of a great way to utilize the relatively new genre of New Adult books. Instead of just hyper-angsty romance novels, authors can make hyper-gritty stories for what would have normally been classified as the 'mature young adult' audience.
I think I originally gravitated toward YA because they tended to have more innocence and hope sprinkled in the story. The good guys still (mostly) won, and the hero or heroine typically got to have a Happily Ever After.
But with the things I enjoyed, I also had to put up with a lot of teen drama and virginity issues. New Adult has the potential to be the best of both worlds for someone like me.
And although NA is getting pretty well-know for it's overblown drama, I think that in the hands of the right authors, you could have a truly winning combination.

So why only 3 stars for this one?
Well, I think maybe the author hasn't quite found her voice yet. It's definitely a readable book, and I flipped the pages fairly quickly for the first half of the story. And then about two-thirds of the way into it, she just lost me.
I realized that I didn't like any of the characters, and nothing seemed to be coming down the pike to make me change my mind. In fact, the opposite was happening. In the beginning, I had cautious optimism that Evalyn was a character I could root for, but by the end...ehhhhh. I didn't hate her, but I didn't care what happened to her, or for that matter, what happened to the rest of her friends.

The plot itself had some wonky points to it, as well. It seemed like a giant waste of money to put criminals through an elaborate test to find out if they were 'moral' or not. At first I went along with it, because I assumed it was all a virtual reality simulation that was being run inside their minds.
Read: Not exorbitantly expensive.
Nope. Evidently, the government decided to spring for shape-shifting robots to decide the fate of iffy felons.

The lurve story that unfolded between Evalyn and Casey felt a bit awkward and weird. I never felt a real connection with them as a couple. The romance smelled like two people who were both desperate and needy. Which, I guess they were...but that knowledge didn't exactly help me enjoy reading about them.

Ok, while I don't think I will continue with this series, I do think I'll keep the author on my To-Watch list. There are some good ideas in the book, but not enough to make me want to go back for more.


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