Author: Teri Terry
I know, I know, I’m awful, it’s been almost a month since I lasted posted a review, but I have been really busy with exams, and I had a lot of trouble getting into this book. I hope the daily posts have been tiding you over during the long waits between reviews! Again, as with Panic, I found this book kind of meh. It took me forever to get into this book, and I was only really into it in the last third of the book, when the action really started to pick up and the stakes got higher. I have to say though, the ending of this book has made me want to pick up the second one (although I will be borrowing it from the library and not buying it myself this time, and I’m not in any desperate rush to read it) so I guess Teri Terry did her job there. Again, I thought this book was going to be really exciting, it sounded like the sort of dystopia that was right up my alley, but I found it quite underwhelming. Here’s a short synopsis of the book so you can see what I mean:
Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.
She’s been Slated.
The government claims she was a terrorist and that they are giving her a second chance – as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?
Sounds really great huh? I thought so too. However when I started reading this book, it was such a struggle to get excited. It was a slog getting through, and I have to put that mainly down to the author’s writing style. I just didn’t like it, the fact that she overused the word “jump” so many times, really irritated me. I started to groan every time the word jump appeared, and I just found her writing style dull and slow which made it hard for me to get into the story. I usually like first person narrators, but because the entire essence of Slating means that your personality is wiped, I did not like the character of Kyla until a good way through the book, when she finally started to show a little personality. I get why Kyla had to be used as the first person narrator, and I did end up liking her, it just took a lot longer than it should have. That is kind of my overall feeling with this book, everything took a lot longer than it should have. For instance, she spends ages setting up Kyla relearning everything after being Slated, and chapters and chapters are spent on Kyla getting used to her new world. I think some of these sections could have been cut, because I don’t feel like Kyla learning how to do things again really added anything to the story.
Also I’m sorry but if there’s one thing I cannot stand in books, it’s insta-love! She sees Ben at her group meetings and instantly falls in love with him, without even knowing a thing about the guy. Even though it was only a subplot, I hated the romance in this book, throughly, truly, deeply hated it. I don’t get what they have in common other than liking to run and both being Slated and Kyla goes on and on about how she has feelings for Ben, she loves Ben and yet she barely even knows him. I find insta-love unforgivable, it’s so lazy, just a way to make your character have a love interest without having to develop a proper relationship. Ugh!
The fact that Kyla just could not keep her mouth shut also irritated me. I mean she knows this is her last chance, she knows that something awful will happen to her if she doesn’t behave and yet she still goes around asking questions she shouldn’t ask and saying things she shouldn’t say. I mean girl, how stupid do you have to be? It also felt like the book was very repetitive, Kyla would go to school, go to group, go for a run, go with Jazz to see Mac, go to the hospital, go home (not necessarily in that order) and so it kind of felt like you were reading the same thing over and over again. The whole thing with the Levos was interesting, having a device controlling your emotions, but ultimately very repetitive again, Kyla would get sad, her levels would go down, and then she would raise them/or blackout. Kyla would get angry, her levels would stay the same and she wouldn’t know why, and again this pattern happened over and over again. Also it’s weird that they get their Levos removed at 21, when the legal age for near enough everything in the UK (which is where the book is set) is 18, but I suppose I can forgive that one, since it is set in the future and things would have changed, plus it’s a minor thing.
I wasn’t keen on Ben either, he had basically no personality due to the whole being Slated thing, so it was impossible to connect with him and root for his relationship with Kyla. Yes I felt sad about what happened to him towards the end, but I think it was more because Kyla felt sad than I did. Also I’ve already said about my views on insta-love, not good!
I kind of hated the fact that Kyla was good at everything, she seemed kind of Mary Sueish, she could run well, she was artist, she could (mostly) work out when people were lying to her and read between the lines. I felt like her personality should have been developed more, whilst she did get better in terms of not being so completely blank, I don’t think her personality was developed as well as it could have been. I didn’t like the whole, she knew something was right because she felt it thing, that annoyed me, and it seemed weird to me that she knew complicated things like how to drive, but not simple things, like knives are sharp don’t hold them by the blade! Also she really shouldn’t have been able to drive at only sixteen, but I’ll put that down to the whole, this is happening in the future thing.
I did however, like the way Teri Terry wrote the supporting characters in this book, most everyone’s motives aren’t black and white, most of them aren’t obviously good or obviously evil, and it kept you guessing, just like Kyla as to who was trying to help her and who wasn’t. I’m really intrigued by Kyla’s dad actually, because it’s obvious that he’s not trying to help Kyla, and definitely has some dark, & mysterious motivations. I don’t think he’s really a computer software guy, I think had has something to do with the government/and or the Lorders and that’s what he’s doing when he’s away so much. I also want to know more about Kyla’s mum, because she really intrigued me and I’m not quite sure what to make of her. The biggest one though is Dr Lysander. I really want to know what’s up with her, because at times it seems like she’s trying to catch her in a lie, but it also seems like she really cares about Kyla. I think Dr Lysander has something to do with Kyla’s past, because she seems to care about Kyla more than just as a patient (or at least it seemed that way to me) and if she wasn’t connected to her in some way, then why did she save her from termination? I may be completely off the ball here, but for me this seemed to be what Teri Terry was hinting at, so I am kind of intrigued to see where this goes. I didn’t really like Kyla’s sister Amy much though, she was the epitome of the perfect slated ie really dull.
I found (spoiler alert) the introduction of Kyla’s alter ego really weird. Does she have MPD and that’s why she can think for herself, unlike a normal Slated? I don’t know and I really need this explained to me, because I found the whole explanation for why Kyla was different really confusing.
I liked the fact that we weren’t told about Kyla’s past directly, rather we were drip fed it and found out little by little where Kyla came from, and what she did to get Slated (okay so we aren’t told these things outright, but you find out where she came from, and from her memories, it’s pretty obvious that she actually must have been involved in some kind of terrorist group). I don’t really understand why the terrorists seem to recruit so many underage children, but I guess that will be explained more in books to come.
I liked the mystery and suspense elements, you’re constantly intrigued because you want to find out why Kyla was Slated? Why she seems different to other Slateds? What all these missing kids have to do with everything? Why are the Lorders taking Slateds and even seemingly random non-Slateds? What happened to Ben? What are the “other options” for people aged over 17? However I found it frustrating that you never really got a satisfactory answer to any of your questions. I’m hoping some of these things will be explored more in the sequel. I kind of felt like the ending was a bit sudden too, the book just seemed to jerk to a halt rather than coming to a natural conclusion.
I also thought there could have been a little more world-building, I mean you get some idea of the background behind Slating and the current government but I felt like it was kind of vague and I needed more. Also I didn’t like the fact that girls couldn’t be friends with each other, according to this novel, all the girls (except Amy) hated Kyla because they thought their hot teacher liked her? I mean come on, how childish can you get? Not all teenage girls are like that! We don’t automatically hate each other over a guy, it would be nice if YA writers acknowledged this! I did love the fact that it was an English dystopian, they are rarities nowadays! I also was not crazy about the whole attempted rape scene I have to say.
Basically, the premise of the book was really good, I liked the idea of Slating, and it goes back to the whole should we punish or rehabilitate criminals kind of thing, and the evil Central Coalition government was obviously based on our former coalition government, I liked that there were little bits that harked back to our current society, plus I felt like it was really unique idea. However it was poorly executed, and was clearly just a set up book for the next one as nothing of note really happens until the end. Terry’s writing style was dull and repetitive, and sometimes confusing, and I seriously hoped that it improved between books because if it didn’t then I will have no qualms DNF’ing it. Slated had potential and some bits were even interesting, but like I said earlier everything took longer than it should have. It wasn’t a completely horrible book, but it wasn’t the best book either ie it was a “meh” book. I’m interested enough to read the second book, but there needs to have been serious improvements for it to be good enough to keep me hooked.
My Rating: 3/5
The next book I will be reading marks the start of my summer reading list (yay!), and it will be Between Shades of Grey, by Ruta Sepetys. It’s not too long of a book, so time, and interest depending, I’m hoping I’ll be able to review it pretty quickly.