by J. A. Souders
The Elysium Chronicles #1
Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.
But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.
Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb… and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all… (Source: Goodreads.com)
My thoughts about the book:
First of all – the cover is absolutely beautiful and it partially also shows greatly the contents of this underwater town. I’ve been totally glad when I’ve got the book and also after the first shock, I’ve liked it really much. Why a shock? The first pages were written very easy, the statements and thoughts of the central figure Evelin, or briefly called Evie, were childish and very irritating, because they sounded like rehearsed texts and they’ve also confused me, to be honest. I already thought ‚oh no’ – what is this for a weird person and the book probably won’t be right for me. Moreover I had the feeling to be stucked in the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ and I was already expecting the worst.
But there I have judged a little too rash, because Evie has entirely changed and transformed and then her ‚true-self’ appeared and there is also a reason for her first weird behavior and thinking, which got explained and solved throughout the story.
Of course at this point you ask yourself what has happened to start this abrupt change, in a society which lives completely isolated and self-sufficiently in a built world below in the sea – in the so-called ‘Elysium’. The people of Elysium fled from the war, which has ruled some decades before on the surface, to live in this refuge and come to peace. Of course they are ready to do everything for this peace and for the protection of their town in the deep ocean, some more than others. Particularly ‚mother’ – the leader in Elysium – has prescribed her life for this town and for the backup of the future. Evie is her adopted daughter and therefore she is trained in all to become the next leader in the Elysium.
But her destiny changes, after a surface dweller succeeds in breaking into Elysium. He gets arrested by the guards and now Evie should try to receive special answers from him. How did he find them? How did he get in? Whether there are even more, which will follow? etc. But Gavin – this is his name – doesn’t let himself get into this questioning so easily and involves Evie in a questions–answers-play and with that he not only lures her slowly from her reserve and win her for himself – but also the readers and above all me
I also liked Evie, because she’s a figure which can also sort things out and stands up for herself and for other people or important values. I found that great – no matter which consequences she may gather from it. But Gavin, Gavin, was simply great! Slowly I’ve fallen in love with him together with Evie more and more, also although he had bright hair and I have pictured him at first dark-haired. He is the typical warrior, with a gentle side and a bright mind. He only could have had quietly some more rough edges, but I think, we will see them in the next part.
Otherwise, according to other characters in the book, it was quite thin. Primarily it was about these two figures, or also about ‘mother’, the remaining ones were just minor characters and thus they also appear neutral in the action.
There we would be at the story of the book, which has increased greatly, with a slow entrance – to describe the situation in Elysium – with growing tension, which tapers almost at the end to the final highlight. Sometimes it was a little bit nerve-wracking for me and particularly the second part – at the end – it was also a little fierce. So the also appears blood – a lot of blood – dangerously, also terrible scenes for the head cinema and though here it hasn’t disturbed me, I even found it super-duper. But I think that the recommended age for the book is too young with 13-17 years, and I think it should be raised to 15+.
I have liked the end very well and I was glad about how it has gone out. For me it was a ‘true end’ and if you ask me, this book also wouldn’t need a second part, but could also stand alone. It even would be refreshing to read once again an independent stand-alone book in the fantasy/ YA book genre. But of course a few threads and questions stay open and point to another, second part and I’m curious on the further ideas, Souders still has to offer here.
Really wonderfully and it reflects perfectly the story of the book (except the hair color^^)
All in all:
A gripping book which didn’t leave me cold and it’s to read virtually like by itself. *great*
4 of 5 points – (Great, Great, Great)
A huge Thanks for the reviewer’s copy to:
#1: J. A. Souders – Renegade »»
#2: J. A. Souders – Untitled
#3: J. A. Souders – ??
About the author – J. A. Souders:
J.A. Souders was born in the heartland with an overactive imagination and an over abundance of curiosity that was always getting her into trouble.
Because she never grew up, she decided she’d put her imaginary friends to work and started writing. She now lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees with her husband and their two children and is an active member of the RWA, SFWA, YARWA and SCBWI.
Visit her Website »»