By Lissa Price
After reading the synopsis of Starters, I was very intrigued. It has such an original idea that I chose the audiobook version of it. Sometimes audioboks really enhance an author’s work and help to make it more memorable. The Starters narrator, however, definitely hurt Price’s brilliant story. The narrator offered inflection but lacked enthusiasm and it made it difficult to connect with Callie. I was tempted to not finish it, but fortunately I got a copy of the hardback version and thoroughly enjoyed the second half of her book.
In Price’s world, technology has advanced so the rich elderly people, called Enders, can “rent” teenage bodies so that they can enjoy youthful activities. The teens, called “Starters” who elect to rent their bodies have a chip implanted so the Enders can control their bodies while the Starters sleep through it.
After her parents died in the Spore Wars, Callie Woodland is doing everything she can to survive on the streets while taking care of Tyler, her younger sick brother, and avoiding the marshals who want to institutionalize orphaned street kids. The opportunity to “loan” her body to Prime Destinations for Enders’ pleasures comes with the promise of a large payday that Callie can use to take care of Tyler. During her third “rental” something goes wrong with the chip and Callie wakes up in the life of wealth and privilege. She soon learns that her Ender renter has decided to commit murder in Callie’s body. Can Callie stop this plan? And is Prime Destinations all that it appears to be?
Price creates a unique environment where an entire generation has been wiped out by the Spore Wars. I would have liked a little more background information on that war, but the story is still complete without it.
Readers will easily understand the dilemmas Callie is forced into. She’s constantly caught between a rock and a hard place with no clear direction as to what is right and wrong. She wants to stop a murder, but what’s the best way to do that when you don’t have control over your body all the time?
In addition to figuring out what to do, Callie must also decide who to trust. Price does a brilliant job throwing readers off. People who seem to be the bad guys just might be the good guys. And close confidants might not be exactly who they say they are. Readers who are good at guessing plot twists, might have a challenge figuring out all of the surprises Price has in store.
Lissa Price delivers a brilliant story that is filled with mystery, suspense, action and a hint of romance. Teens and adults alike can enjoy this dystopian sci-fi. Readers who liked Skinned by Robin Wasserman will thoroughly enjoy Starters.
I look forward to seeing where Price takes the story in her second book, Enders, which is due to come out in 2013.
Interested in more? Check out the Starters book trailer!