So, whenever someone asks me what this book is I always reply in with, “It’s a dystopian X-men.” Which, as I LOVE X-men is basically the best thing ever. Also, my favourite of the X-men is Rogue and the main character here has a similar problem to Rogue’s. All things considered I was beyond excited to read this book.
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
Sounds awesome, yes?
The book is, kind of, divided into two sections. The beginning takes place in a prison of some kind and the second half takes place…well, elsewhere. Stupid no spoilers rules.
In the first half we see Juliette and her strange life. She doesn’t talk, she doesn’t try to escape, she just follows the rules and does what she has to to survive all while writing everything down. Until she is forced to share her cell with a boy. A strangely familiar boy.
I liked the idea that, because she didn’t talk, the way she wrote sort of bled into the way she thought. And as you got further into the book her thoughts became more like speech and less like writing. It was very stylized and I thought the style was a little much at the beginning but it found a nice medium as the story progressed and I changed my mind about it. Though I will say, some of the crossouts, at the beginning, were long and were things I felt the story could’ve done without anyway. But, like I said, I felt the story reached a good balance in the middle and they stopped being quite so jarring.
As I’ve stated in other reviews I love characters that are made to suffer and Juliette has definitely suffered. Despite her 264 days of silence, despite her being alone in a grey room with one tiny window, you can tell that the jail is more than the walls. She is keeping herself there, she is her own jail because she has seen what she can do to people and it terrifies her. I really loved that about Juliette. I loved that she had this huge, terrifying power and she was more afraid of herself than anyone else.
And then there’s Adam. I don’t want to give too much away here but I will just say that at first his presence in Juliette’s cell makes her question everything, makes her want to reach out and have human interaction for the first time in almost a year. And then his presence sets off a huge chain of events that gives us the second half of the story and brings up more questions than it answers.
One more thing. There’s this…thing, this quirk in Juliette’s power that at first I was a little upset about. I thought it was way too convenient and it was going to make her life so much easier and well…I just didn’t like it at all. UNTIL!!!! Until something else happened and suddenly it was interesting in a completely different way. So, if you are reading this and you find a little plot point way to convenient and not in the spirit of the story at all, just wait. Just wait. It’ll be good. Trust me.
And then there’s the ending!!!! Which was the best thing ever! It wasn’t a cliffhanger so much as it was a cliff of awesome! I need the next book now because because because!!!! It’s going to be so great! I HATE NOT SPOILING!!! I’m so excited. I will just say that it looks like my description of “dystopian X-men” was more right than even I could ever know.