Monday, 7 January 2013

Review: Slated by Teri Terry (Slated #1)

Slated by Teri Terry
A British dystopia?  An intiguing set up, good worldbuilding and a kickass heroine?  All present and helping to make Slated pretty damn awesome and a good first book for the year.

Title & Author: Slated by Teri Terry
Published: 2012
Series: Slated #1
Pages: 429 (Orchard ,2012)
Status: Borrowed from the library
NB: I'm not counting this towards my 2013 Debut Author Challenge as, technically, it was a 2012 debut in Britain.  Also I started reading it in 2012 so it would all feel like a cheat.

Synopsis: 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? (from Goodreads)

Review: I have to get something out of the way right at the top of this review - my biggest problem with the book was the ending.  Without spoiling, I'm just going to say that it felt rushed and was so clearly setting up book two (Fractured) that I felt a little cheated.  It's actually what knocked this book down a little in my estimation, as there's no real resolution and Kyla has a couple of sudden epiphanies that seem to come out of nowhere and are just there to make you want to read Fractured.  I wanted to read it without that ending!  It isn't a cliffhanger in the traditional sense, but it feels rushed and as if the book just stops with Kyla making a decision about what to do next and then bam, the end.

Having said that: I really liked this book otherwise.   It's a British dystopia!  There were elements that made me go "oh, cool, that references stuff that's happening now - argh, wait, this is stuff that's happening now!" and I particularly liked that the Evil Government Up To No Good were called the Central Coalition (though I then had another argh moment over this).  There's also reference to the EGUTNG being a result of severe riots and, yeah, hello 2011.  In a weird way, I liked that it was my country that had turned to the Dark Side (in fiction, anyway).

The science fiction elements are well handled: people under 16 who are deemed an enemy of the government are given a chance to start over again by being Slated - their memories are removed and they're given new families.  They're also closely monitored and non-consenting minors* and there are a lot of hints about what happens if you're over 16 and annoy the EGUTNG, but not so much that I have all the answers.  I get the feeling that this will be explored more in the rest of the trilogy, and that we'll get more on just why people get chosen and how the technology was developed - more so than we have already, anyway.

All in all, this was a good first book let down by a rushed ending.  I will definitely be reading the rest of the trilogy, but this would have been the case even without the open ending - I was intrigued from page one and really enjoyed the world and characters, I just wish there had been a proper resolution to the story of Slated before we rushed into Fractured, but I still think this a very good, accomplished and taut thriller throughout the rest of the book.

* In most cases.  I did like that there was reference to the way in which Slating is used to help people get over severe trauma, as it did suggest that the technology could be used to help rather than oppress, and also stopped it being completely one-sided.  Still, complete memory wipe? 

Rating: 7/10

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