My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(THERE’S SPOILERS SO BE WARNED)
My expectations were ridiculously high for this book. Which I guess is the reason for my disappointment. Fortunately, It didn’t sink that low with me.
XVI is, as it is obvious from the title, centers around 15-year-olds turning 16. Nina Oberon and her BFF Sandy are both nearing their 16 birthday. On that day, and no matter how Nina tried to persuade her, Sandy wanted to join the FeLS. FeLS Program is short for (Female Liaison Specialists), in which girls are allowed more social freedom and can ultimately improve their status. As certain incidents happen afterwards, Nina comes across secrets about her life, her dad and the government that are sure to turn things upside down for everyone.
First, I appreciated a book with a good premise or base for its story, especially when it comes to the dystopian genre, as it distinguishes itself from the rest of genre-books. XVI was one of those. I appreciated the originally of the idea and aspects of it too like people working on Mars, that was very cool. I also felt good about the characters. They mostly were diverse and enjoyable.
I loved the relationships in general. Loved Wei awesome martial arts skills and I hope she gets more chance on the next book. Ed, the stepdad, was a true psychopath. I hated him and I felt so much better when he died. Nina’s Grandparents rock, they’re adorable.
However (and here comes the slap), I have certain issues with it that made me give a 3 stars. One, I believe it failed to deliver the whole idea of this government or what exactly happens inside gov’s walls. Beside the XVI stuff, I don’t really understand why NonCons or Anti-government movements were formed. I felt I needed more answers about everything especially why only choose 16 year old girls for FeLS. Second issue was, the too much details. The writing over explained unnecessary stuff while it should have focused on explaining the settings better. Why the class differences? Third and little last issue was I felt that characters were used as an easy escape for Nina. Luckily, that was on few incidents.
This book could have been written better. It lacked the intensity and thrill these genre books I think should provide. Other than that, I praise it for the idea it presented. And I sure hope the second book would answer some of my questions.