I love it when the story goes to scenes that you don't see coming, and ones that may even get you a little upset. One such scene in this book did get me a little upset. But, I have to believe there is a reason for what happened and hopefully the second book will massage my feelings.
Tani Mura gives us a taste of not just one different world, but two via completely dissimilar cultures. The characters in these two cultures see things differently in some ways, but very much the same in some of their foundational thinking. They just don't see it yet. You certainly get the feel for what they think and why, and then, per design I'm sure, you start to wonder how things will jell for them as a whole and be ultimately be resolved. What you think you want to see happen doesn't quite get there this time, but you do get a surprise.
The surprise has a great amount of potential and depth, again keeping the reader not only engaged, but anticipating and anxiously waiting for more information to be revealed. The depth of this surprise is one you can only guess at because this author is not someone you can assume or predict with. She is quite unique and creative.
The characters are well defined. And even though the lead was sometimes a little too head strong for me, I realized it was only because of where her personality developed from. To make her any other way would have been uncharacteristic and unworthy of her situation. The others were true to how they developed. Tani showed how some can change because of some little thing that was different in their life or change because they couldn't see past their own selfish wants. Tani did it right from one to the next and kept you interested and liking every single one.
If you like dystopian stories you will really like this one. It actually had me REALLY curious from the beginning, and even as things unfolded, I never lost that quest for answers. I really grew to like and even enjoy the characters. I could see the expressions on their faces and feel the energy and personality each of them had. That only comes when an author tells you enough to see them right there before you. Well done Tani.
I know every teen and adult would enjoy this book and once read, will hunt down the next one. Five stars to a great book. Thank you Tani Mura!