Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Word and Breath by Susannah Noel

Riana has learned how to stay out of trouble. She spends her days studying written texts in the government’s Office of Readers, and she spends her nights taking care of her sick sister. She always—always—follows the rules. Despite her low profile, she has mysteriously become a target. Someone has kidnapped her sister. Someone else is trying to kill her. And someone has sent a Soul-Breather to beguile her out of her secrets.

Her help comes from the mythic leader of an underground rebel movement. A man who used to be her friend. A man who has silently loved her for years. He disappeared from her life without a word, and now he expects her to trust him again.

Then there’s the Soul-Breather, a man who can taste her spirit with only a touch. He makes her feel things she’s never experienced before, but she doesn’t know if the feelings are real. Hired to deceive and betray her, he offers to help her instead.

Without both men, she can’t rescue her sister. And she can’t discover the world-changing knowledge—buried in her memory—that has made her a target in the first place.

I just love dystopian novels. When they’re done correctly, they are both fascinating and frightening, creating a wonderful reading experience. In this case, the majority of it was able to capture this essence, so I did enjoy it quite a bit.

The author does a nice job of world building, not too much that it gets frustrating, and not too little so that we have no idea what’s happening. She manages to guide us along in a believable way, following our protagonist, Riana, through her life. She is an interesting character, with a core of strength in her that keeps the reader wanting to see how she’ll handle certain situations. I do wish she’d been developed a tad bit more, since she didn’t always come across as someone fully-dimensional. The rest of the characters are even better, which is rare, really. In this case I think the supporting ones were more realistic than the main character.

The writing is in good shape, fast-paced without feeling rushed. The author does a good job in keeping us entertained. I do recommend this book to all lovers of dystopian fiction, teen or not. You’ll definitely find something to like in this story.

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