Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Uninvited

UNINVITED
Uninvited #1
Sophie Jordan
Young Adult/Dystopian
384 pages
HarperTeen
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.


MY THOUGHTS
Uninvited is a story that forces us to ask ourselves difficult questions; questions as to whether or not we would simply believe what we're told or if we'd dare to go against the grain and see things from an angle of our own choosing. Protagonist Davy's world and her government present us with a much darker version of the chicken or the egg question: Are those with the Homicidal Tendency Syndrome gene monsters receiving their due punishment in order to protect society, or through an unjust punishment are monsters being created? Those in power would have everyone believe the former, but as readers seeing things through young Davy's eyes we can't help but consider the latter, knowing full well that any person, no matter their genetic makeup, is capable of violence under the right circumstances. Ms. Jordan does a beautiful job of ensuring we never get too comfortable with our stance however, our confidence that nature has nothing on nurture shaken a number of times as those with the HTS gene prove themselves to be what everyone already believes, but questioning ourselves at every turn is what keeps us riveted throughout, hoping for the best yet fearing the worst.

Davy is that wonderful type of character who undergoes substantial growth mentally and emotionally as the story progresses, starting out content to believe the HTS propaganda and feeling safe with the knowledge she'll never have reason to think otherwise. When her DNA test results reveal her as a carrier though, we have the pleasure of watching as Davy slowly begins to wonder just how accurate a predictor of violence the gene truly is, forced to see the people themselves through the label with which they're burdened. She clings to the idea that she is an aberration initially, a single mistaken diagnosis in a sea of dangerous criminals, but we can hardly blame her for her denial in the beginning, sure that our minds would be singling us out as flaws in the system as well. Luckily, she doesn't drown herself in denial for long, moving forward slowly but surely into a grim acceptance of her new life, and then finally into the much stronger mindset in which she sets out to prove who she is cannot be dictated by a single gene.

The romance between Davy and fellow carrier Sean is beautifully executed, things between them so very fragile in the weeks following Davy's DNA test as she struggles to reconcile everything she's believed with what she now knows to be true. Their relationship is an important part of the story but it's also stunningly subtle, never hijacking the focus and allowing Davy and her progression to remain the highlight throughout. Their moments together are painful and raw, and though we instantly like Sean for the protectiveness that fairly radiates from him, we don't know all that much about him in the end, something that proves to be a positive rather than a negative. Knowing all Sean's secrets would ruin the mystery of who he really is and what he did to earn himself an imprint, but instead what we're left with is endless possibility; the chance for us as readers to fill in the blanks and make Sean what we ourselves most want him to be, and it's in this gray area between being in the dark and fully informed that Sean truly shines.

Overall, Uninvited is a dark and at times deeply moving start to this new series by Ms. Jordan, our minds forced to work overtime as numerous moral and ethical dilemmas are laid out before us in brutal detail, begging us to weigh in and challenging us at every turn. We're left not necessarily with a cliffhanger per se, it's more of an abrupt halt to the action that has us wishing this series could have magically been made into a one thousand-plus page book rather than several multi-hundred page ones. Though it is a bit of a sudden stop, it's also a very logical place for the break between books to be, so we find ourselves content to step away from Davy and Sean even as we greatly anticipate returning to them in the sequel.

Rating: 4/5
 

Find Sophie:


*Be sure and stop back tomorrow as I'll have the pleasure of welcoming Sophie back to the blog for an interview!

This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.
 

51 comments:

  1. Loved it so!!! It was so heartbreaking and intense and I honestly didn't expect to love it that much! And yeah, as much as the break makes sense - I still would love to read the next one asap!

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    1. I NEED MORE DANNY! It was awesome:)

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  2. Oh yes! I loved this one too. It's rare that a dystopia upsets me this much... i found this scenario entirely too believable for comfort. I spent hours discussing it with my boyfriend, slightly panicky, waving my hands like my Italian neighbors.
    I agree with you abotu the romance too, it's my very favorite kind. Not perfect, not sudden, and certainly not overwhelming.
    I was so pleasantly surprised by this. I haven't had good experiences with SJ's books, but this is a whole different thing.

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    1. Me too. I could easily see fear taking control and getting out of hand, we have many an example of that today and in history already. I'm so glad you loved this one as well!

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  3. Oh, I like the sound of this one. I'm hesitant to start yet another YA series since I never seem to finish them, but this sounds like it might be worth it!

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    1. I just adored this one Leanna. I liked how we got to see Davy before the diagnosis and after, and really follow her progress as her eyes are opened a bit.

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  4. Oh, this premise! I love the sound of it and everyone has been raving about it. I love a great character growth story and Davy's ability to grow is very appealing. I think the concept of her wanting to be defined more by that one gene is beautiful and it's also very true. People are defined by so many things, not just a singular event or attribute. Gosh, do I ever love a roamnce that doesn't take over the plot of a paranormal/dystopia/fantasy book. If it's a contemporary, sure, that's usually about relationships anyway, but in these kind of books--I'm mostly reading about the plot, world, characters, fighting, action etc--the romance is juts a big plus, but I don't want it to overbear the main plot. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I can't wait to tackle it. Hopefully soon:)

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    1. The romance was nice and subtle Siiri, I loved it. It was definitely there and kept me turning the pages, but the focus stayed on Davy and how she was handling the HTS diagnosis. I can't wait for book 2!

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  5. I really do love the sound of this one, but I must say that the sound of that abrupt ending doesn't really appeal to me. I'm all for leaving us hanging, but I also feel the need to know just a smidgeon more, otherwise it feels like being cheated! Overall though, this sounds really good! Great review, Jenny! :)

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    1. Even though it was a touch abrupt for me, it made sense for the story to end there so it wasn't too bad. And I think if you know that it's that kind of ending going in, it won't really be an issue at all:) I hope you give this one a try!

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  6. I'm so glad to hear you loved this one as much as I did, Jenny. I think what I really loved about it was how much it made me think about all the stuff you mentioned in your review.
    I also liked Davy's growth. I sure do love a character like her. And yes, the romance was fabulous! I can't wait to see where it goes.
    Lovely review, Jenny.

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    1. Yes! This one was thought-provoking for sure, and I loved that about it. I'm already counting the days until book 2:)

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  7. Oooooh. You've hooked me. I love exploring that line between killer and non-killer.

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    1. I found this story fascinating Amanda, I really think you'll like it!

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  8. Really cannot wait to read this book! It sounds like a brilliant read, thank you for your review!

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    1. I hope you love it as much as I did!!!

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  9. Yay! I am so glad you liked this Jenny, I just thought while it isn't perfect, it was captivating and such a great read. I can't wait for the second book!

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    1. Agreed Ali! I was definitely a fan of this one and can't wait to see where the story goes.

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  10. YES, Jenny! I love this book so hard! Davy and Sean are amazing and I just love, love them!

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  11. I rather enjoyed this one too. While I found a few more faults with it than you did, I loved the romance and the issues this book brought up were really intriguing. I'm hoping for more political issues in the sequel, but I'm on board for sure. :)

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    1. Glad you're looking forward to the next book too Keertana!

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  12. Kind of silly, every can kill on some primal level

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  13. With every review I read of this book, it makes me even more curious to read it. I'm very picky of my dystopians lately, most of them being a cookie cutter of the Hunger Games series, but I really like how contemporary and chilling this one feels. Really looking forward to picking this one up!

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    1. I hope you give this one a shot Rummanah, I thought it was really well done, both characters and story:)

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  14. Now I am back to getting this one :) I am probably going to get it on audiobook.

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  15. You know that romance can make me enjoy the book so much and it seems to me that this one will do just that. I love the sound of it and I'm so glad you enjoyed it that much. Amazing review, Jenny ;)

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    1. Yes! I loved the romance in this story, it fit perfectly in with the other elements and never took over:)

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  16. I REALLY liked this one, too! I can see our society doing that -- because they have done it. Japanese internment camps, anyone? And the whole nature/nurture thing. I felt so terrible for Davy.

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  17. I really enjoyed this and still cannot believe she wrote Foreplay as well. It isn't often you see an author who can cross genres and command them. I agree the ending was the perfect place to stop and look forward to book two. I still need to try one of her historical novels as well.

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    1. Yes, she spans genres and does all of them very well. I have writer envy:)

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  18. Fantastic review. I am definitely intrigued by this one. Man, Jordan has been writing a lot of new books…I just read her first NA book not too long ago. I will have to add this one to my TBR list; plus, you say the romance is beautifully executed? I love when that happens! Great review, Jenny.

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    1. LOVED the romance in this one Christina! It moved at the perfect pace and I just loved the two of them together:)

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  19. Yes, totally agree the romance was well done and just perfect. I am still thinking about this one two weeks later. I just wish the author had brought up the Nature vs. Nurture issue for the younger readers who may not be familiar with the concept. I can't wait for your interview.

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  20. OOoh nice review! I can't wait to read this one myself! Have to buy it this weekend when I can get to the bookstore! Have quote a few I NEED to buy! Glad to hear that this new series is a good one!

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  21. YES! The 1000+ pg book. I'm such a fan of that concept. I mean HP was 800+ and it was for kids! We CAN deal with the huge novel! We need a petition for this.

    This sounds like something I would really enjoy. I've heard raves about the worldbuilding and now you have given me a great insight to the characters. Brilly review!!

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  22. I'm hoping I won't find the ending too jarring, but this honestly sounds brilliant overall! I've heard such fantastic things about it recently, and definitely think it could be my sort of read. I'm glad you liked it, Jenny. Hopefully the sequel will be just as satisfying! :)

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  23. Gahhh. I want this so bad. I've read some mixed reviews, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hate the middle-of-the-action, jarring-type endings, though. Trilogizing for trilogizing's sake can be so irritating.

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  24. I've been seeing EVERYONE reviewing this one. I'm definitely very curious about it! It sounds like one that really makes you think.

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  25. What an interesting premise! But I disagree with the idea that a behavior can be predicted by genes alone. It's the gene-environment interaction, baby!

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  26. I wish I could've liked Davy and the other characters more, and maybe got the perspective from the agency with 1 or 2 chapters. I think I would've felt better about it all. It really is an wonderful premise though. Love the review, Jenny!

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  27. This is on my reading list for the weekend, can't wait to get to it! I wasn't planning on reading it but all the positive reviews from my favorite bloggers, including this one, have changed my mind. This sounds like such a fascinating world and I love the sound of Davy and Sean's relationship. Thank you for your lovely review, now I'm even more excited for the weekend to start so I can get to this!

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  28. Great Review Jenny! Your opinion seems to fall right in line with most of the reviews I've read of this one. Not sure I want to read dark right now, but I can set it aside for when I do. I have not read anything by Sophie Jordan, but I do have the first book in her other series which I do plan to read on that mystical "One day".

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  29. Eeeeek! I can not wait to read Uninvited!

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  30. Love Sophie Jordan! I love the way the story was told. Can not wait to read the next one.

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  31. I've read a few reviews for this and the story reminds me so much of Minority Report, the movie with Tom Cruise. I actually loved that movie so that's a good thing. I loved Firelight by Sophie Jordan so I'm excited to read this. Great review, Jenny! :)

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  32. I know Maja really enjoyed this one because of the ethical questions it raised so I'm glad you found it thought provoking as well. I love books that focus on genetics as that is a subject I'm very interested in and so hope to read this one soon. Great review, Jenny!

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  33. Well I wasn't at all sure about this book--I liked Jordan's NA, Foreplay, but kinda felt "meh" about her dragon books- but you present a very convincing argument here, Jenny. I like that the question of nature vs nurture is essentially at the core of this book--it's a pretty fascinating subject but in this context even more so. I'm still on the fence as to whether this is my type of read but your review has provided food for thought:)

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  34. I've seen mostly positive reviews of this book, and I'm glad you've lent your vote to that side. I'm really interested in the questions this one asks, but I think I'll wait until the second is out - I think this is a duet? - and read them together.

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