Friday, 15 June 2012

Review: Slated by Teri Terry

In One Line:  Girl gets memory wiped in dark vision of the near future.
Genre: British-dystopian drama
The Gist:
Kyla has been slated. Her memory has been wiped, and she’s just about to meet her brand new adoptive parents for the first time. She doesn’t know much about crossing roads, or washing up, and she has no idea what her own personality is. All she really knows is that she had to have done something pretty bad in her former life to be in the position she’s in now. But as Kyla slowly adjusts to her new world she begins to figure out that her circumstances aren’t as simple as they initially seem. Things are wrong. She is wrong, and as the puzzle pieces come together, Kyla realises that her past can still catch up with her.
The Cover:
Guys, I really like it. And there aren’t many covers that I’d openly declare as liking right now. But the face is right, the styling is right, and you’re under no illusion that what you’re getting is a dystopian thriller. But the close up face also prepares you for the level of intimacy you’ll end up having with the main character. It’s like those green eyes are actually saying ‘go on, read me. You know you want too...’ Isn’t it great when a book does that? Also, bonus points for it being gender-neutral. Any book cover that doesn’t feature a distressed thin girl in a pretty dress wins with me at the moment! 
Why You’ll Love This Book
  • It was real emotional intimacy. This slice of science-fiction-lite works because you really feel for the main character, you understand her, and are with her 100% of the way. Terry understands that this is not a story about a near-futuristic society, but a story about a girl. This is why it works, and this is why you are hooked from the very beginning.
  • It doesn’t hit you over the head with the dystopia thing... and this is BRILLIANT. Because I hate getting bogged down in exposition. The fact that our main character has had her memory wiped means we learn about her society along with her. 
  • Plausibility. This is my favourite buzz-word when it comes to speculative fiction. I have to buy that it might possibly happen in order to buy into the book. I always use Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale as an example of this - it’s definitely dystopian science fiction, but every element of that novel is drawn from stuff that is actually happening in the world today. It’s the plausibility that makes it such a thrilling read. Terry has achieved that here. This is a near-future world that could happen and has ties to current psychiatric practices, the ‘problem’ of youth culture, and the functionality of our government. 
  • I kind of want to be Kyla. She’s different from the rest, in a way that makes her sort-of dangerous (we think). She has a super-hero quality to her, even though she doesn’t actually know what makes her special, and I love that. It leaves me expecting big and exciting things from the sequels - no pressure Teri! 
  • I love that good vs evil isn’t a black and white thing here. The fact that you have no idea who to trust, no idea if our heroine is actually a goodie or a baddie, makes this book all the more exciting. Just who is Kyla? Is she a terrorist? Is she just a girl who was in the wrong place at the wrong time? Are her doctors the bad guys? The Lorders? Well, no spoilers or anything, but don’t expect to get any answers any time soon. There is great subtlety in the writing, and I love that I have to constantly ask questions not only of the book, but of myself. 
  • Levos. The thing on your wrist that moniters your happy levels - what a brilliant, BRILLIANT idea. It made me shudder with ickiness at some points, but I really like it when that happens, as it means the writing is getting under my skin!
  • IT’S BRITISH. Mega fist-pump of joy for a book that represents! And it doesn’t try to be American or anything. It’s set in a UK we can all recognise and appreciate, although it’s pretty frustrating to know that the motorway traffic doesn’t get any better in the future. Sucks. 

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • CLIFFHANGER WARNING - ok, so it’s not a Patrick Ness or Lauren Oliver style cliffhanger, which leaves you screaming at the book for ending where it does, but I do feel that it’s fair to let you know that this is the first part of a trilogy, and leaves you wanting more. But apparently it’s impossible in this day and age for a great story to be told in one book. I get a little bit angry about this, but am not going to rant about it here. I just want you to be aware. In case you are angry about this trend in YA publishing too.
  • Ben. Oh, Ben. I want to love you. I feel like I probably should love you, but I don’t. Now, admittedly I understand that as a recently Slated lad, Ben’s instincts and urges are going to be a little different from the average teenage boy’s, but still, apparently his idea of a good time is having you sit on his knee for a cuddle. I just didn’t fancy him. Am hoping that the future novels will have a love interest with a bit more of a swoon factor. 
  • Running. This is a bit of a personal bad point. Basically I’ve started jogging, and I really enjoy it, but I don’t want to go out when it’s raining. And it’s been rainning a lot lately. So Kyla does an awful lot of running in the book, and she just made me feel really guilty about not going out as often as I should. Also I’m not sure that enough showering happens. 

The Hypersomnia Test:
Passed. Passed Passed. Short chapters keeps the storytelling paced well, and things move along quickly enough to keep me hooked. I wasn’t quite so sure about the last third of the book - this is where the ‘thriller’ element of the story really comes into it’s own. I found myself missing the more imtimate, emotional storytelling of the first parts. 
Final Verdict:
I’m going to get personal here folks. I suffer from depression and have seen psychiatrists for much of my life, and there were moments of this book that I really connected with from my own experience. So much so that I got a chilling curdle in my stomach at some points. Now of course I haven’t been slated, but Kyla’s experience of adjusting to an unsure world, whilst being unsure of yourself, is something I could identify with to a frankly scary degree. Her experience of group therapy and her meetings with Dr Lysander will resonate with anyone who has ever been on the therapist’s couch. But this is why the book works so well. The things Kyla feels and thinks about are spot on, and even though I couldn’t possibly fully comprehend what it’s like to be slated, I do feel that through the storytelling, I can understand it to a pretty thorough degree. That’s what good writing does folks. 
Further Reading:
Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (read my review HERE!)
Fracture by Megan Miranda
The Declaration by Gemma Malley
To buy Slated please click HERE!!!

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