A review by Amanda.
I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review his book, Grid Seekers.
Seventeen year old Alexia Meyers lives in New York, the biggest of six megacities spread across a futuristic United States. She lives with her mother and younger sister in the overcrowded city. In this tech-driven society, citizens travel and socialize virtually using a universal network, WorldNet. This luxury doesn’t cost any money, but there is still a price. Citizens between the ages of sixteen and sixty who have used WorldNet at any time in the last year are automatically entered into a lottery that randomly chooses twenty-four people, four from each megacity, to compete for an incredible prize. The competition occurs in the virtual world, also called the grid, and is broadcast for all to see. Hidden in the grid are two talismans. The contestants are broken into teams of two,and they must locate each talisman and connect them in order to end the contest and win. Both winners will be granted a wish from the government. It can be for absolutely anything and is guaranteed to be honored. Those who lose are sent to work in labor camps for three years with no pay and no contact with their families. No one in Alexia’s family has ever been chosen to compete, so no one is more shocked than she is when her name is announced during the televised lottery drawing. Now she has to figure out how to survive and who she can trust.
I am fond of dystopian novels and I was excited to read this one. Unfortunately, several factors got in the way of my enjoyment. First the characters, especially Alexia, were lacking in depth. I couldn’t connect with Alexia at all, nor with any of the supporting characters. Inconsistencies in her behavior, such as a tendency to naïvely trust one minute and then be suspicious for no apparent reason, only added to the problem. The first time she meets her partner, Liam, she gets a vague feeling that he can’t be trusted, but offers no reason or clues as to why. Liam, as Alexia’s partner and potential love interest is very lackluster. Readers get almost no insight into his personality, which makes it difficult to care about his and Alexia’s interactions. Another obstacle to liking this book is the way that Alexia excels in most aspects of her training, including things she has never done before, like shooting a rifle. She knows the correct way to hold it because she saw it in a movie once and manages to get the highest score out of everyone.
The last nail in the metaphorical coffin is how closely key aspects of this book resemble The Hunger Games. Megacities instead of districts, competing in virtual reality, and contestants aren’t killing each other off in order to win, but the differences end there. Twenty-four people, forcibly entered into a contest that was devised by the government to quell a rebellion that occurred several decades ago. The main character is a teenaged girl whose biggest concern is providing for her family after her father was killed in a work-related accident some years before. She is paired with a boy from her hometown with unclear motivations, who seems too good to be true. There is a brightly-attired, slightly garish TV host who interviews the competitors and keeps the rest of the country up-to-date on the contest. Instead of a sympathetic stylist-turned-ally, there is a friendly, helpful hacker. A fierce competitor who is determined to win any way possible emerges early on. And Alexia makes a spur-of-the-moment decision that could cause unforeseen consequences for the entire nation. There are smaller similarities that add up as well, and altogether it was hard to get through.
Ultimately, all of these issues combined to make this book extremely unappealing.
My rating: 1 /5 stars.
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