Amy Tintera is one of my favourite authors, because even if one of them really dove head-first into the derivative (the first Ruined), all of her works have destroyed my reading slumps and have given a fast-paced jolt. And both her Reboot duology and Ruined trilogy (still have to read the last one) all had a bit more too; the former had a slow (and therefore perfect) pace of its vampiric-like protagonist learning to love again, and the latter displayed a pure intolerant evil from an unexpected character, questioning when enough revenge is enough of if it’s even worth it.
For this Tintera title, I had to use my imagination quite a bit for how a scrab would actually look; I couldn’t help but picture them as lavender-coloured, courtesy of the purple scaly skin displayed on the cover. They’re probably like seven-foot-tall lavender gophers with claws like knives, and one thing they definitely are is layered; regular bullets ricochet off their skin, bouncing them right back and killing anyone who dares shoot them.
Clara Platt is a teen from Texas who’s living in quite the troubled home; her mother makes very little at her cafeteria job, her older brother Laurence has got a job out of state, and her abusive father is being given a fifth or sixth chance by her mom even after some nightmares that have scarred Clara from ever feeling love from him again. Then it’s revealed a young man named Grayson is recruiting a private army to head to Europe and kill some of these scrabs. Some journalists and governments are calling this endangering and irresponsible, potentially seriously agitating the scrabs and sparking something they can’t undo. Clara isn’t sure she fully agrees, but anywhere’s better than a home with her dad, so she runs away to join, and we have the first in her newest duology.
Like Tintera’s other books, especially Reboot, this one is fast on its toes but doesn’t speed past explaining why we should care Clara’s going to war. It also holds various eggs in various baskets, not relying on training montages, exposition or romance for a big boss fight that is often too underwhelming in books that follow that yellow-brick road. There’s always something on the go right at the moment, from Clara trying to sneak away to her being forced to fast (You read right; forced to not eat. I got starving reading about her horrid sitch and didn’t stop reading until she got fed), and the constant media scrutiny from political disagreers.
When pitching a book, you have to often say how it adds something missing from all the other books out there. This is almost certainly not the only one, but this book presents journalism from news sources and the participating public while showing both good and bad sides to each. Big news outlets with TV channels can be more reputable than something trending on Twitter or Tumblr, but they also tend to carry agendas that favour stories leaned towards whoever their advertisers and/or viewers support. And individuals on Twitter or Tumblr are able to shed light on all types of stories without gatekeepers omitting anything.
Most of the action scenes remind me of the best video games, ones where you can practice your stealth rather than simply attacking and have the ability to manipulate what’s around you. Tintera always knows how to get the picture fully in your head.
The ending is perfect. It has that familiar huge-cliffhanger vibe and that unfamiliar feeling of self-reflection that snuck up on the characters, and on us, the readers. It dives into a true meaning of romance that I really want to talk about but can’t for fear of spoilers, so you’ll just have to trust me. It has a kick-ass fight scene that is filled with yelling, fury, and relentless deaths.
I can’t wait to find out what happens for the conclusion, All These Warriors.
If you like this, I’d try Warcross by Marie Lu