Review: Defect by Ryann Kerekes ★★★

Defect by Ryann Kerekes
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: n/a
Publication Date: March 23rd 2013
ISBN: 9781483953175
Page Count: 396
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice
Synopsis: Locked in the mental ward on her sixteenth birthday, Eve Sterling doesn’t think things can get any worse.

They can.

After failing the mindscan procedure that predicts future crime, she’s deemed a Defect and subjected to endless psychological and physical testing as the government tries to determine what’s different about her.

The one bright spot is military guard, Will. He’s gentle with her when no one’s watching and suppresses a smile whenever she defies their challenges. Will’s lessons begin to dance dangerously close to knowledge she shouldn’t possess, like what’s beyond the fenced compound. Though it’s forbidden and Will would be killed on the spot if they’re discovered, they steal away moments together. With her very life on the line, Eve has to decide if she can trust the guard she’s falling for.

DEFECT, a young adult romance, takes place in the near-future.

It is a survivalist love story.

REVIEW

Almost perfect

Defect is a YA dystopian novel set in a not-too-distant future where life is heavily regimented and controlled, and citizens are subjected to invasive mindscan procedures. Fail the scan and you're branded a Defect. Family, school, friends - you lose it all. Suddenly you're government property, and they can do whatever they want to you. Which is exactly what happens to Eve at the start of the book.

Eve's voice reeled me in almost instantly. She doesn't understand why she failed the mindscan, or what makes her different from the countless others who have taken (and passed) the same test. All she knows is life as she knows it is over. Rather than give up, though, or waste time railing against the unfairness of her fate, Eve makes up her mind that she is going to survive at any cost. She's not going to give anyone the satisfaction of beating her, or of turning her into a mindless drone. She's small but tough, this girl, and has plenty of smarts and spirit. It helps that she has a totally swoonworthy guy in her corner who isn't afraid to break and bend the rules for her.

Will....ah, Will. He sorta snuck up on me. He's a little tough to pin down at first, but when he turns it on, it's ON. I am not at all embarrassed to admit he made me sigh like a dreamy-eyed schoolgirl more than a few times. (What? Like you haven't oooh'd and aaah'd over a sexy book hero? Yeah, that's what I thought LOL)

The romance has the right amount of buildup and sizzling moments, and the characters are solid and pretty well defined, so it's easy to stay invested and interested in their story. Unfortunately, as much as I liked what I was reading (and I truly did), the book is not without its issues.

For starters, the world-building is slow to get off the ground, with a lot of necessary explanations about why things are the way they are postponed until further into the novel. Even then, I didn't feel like I got a crystal clear picture of how this dystopian world worked. What details I did get were vague and in short supply. The story also lacks urgency. I was told about various threats and dangers but I wasn't really shown them, and as a result, I didn't take them seriously.

Where Defect really let me down, though, was in its ending. The final 1/3 or so of the book had a bare bones, slightly rushed feel to it that I wasn't happy with. Like I was reading a recap of events, instead of being allowed to actually experience things as they happened. Adding Will's POV might have solved this problem, or better yet, splitting the story into two books instead of making it a standalone. Because honestly, there was a lot more to this story than what I read,  and I was disappointed I had to settle for less.

All in all, though, while Defect didn't wow me as much as Ryann Kerekes' debut novel, The Cirque (which I cannot recommend strongly enough), for a sophomore effort it ain't half bad. I like Ryann Kerekes' style and believe she's just beginning to scratch the surface of her writing potential. I look forward to her next project, whatever it is.

This book would be ideal for those who are new to the YA dystopian genre. It's an easy read, not too heavy or angst-ridden, and the two main characters are sure to win you over.

3 Stars ★★★

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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