Sunday, October 20, 2013

Review - Switch by Janelle Stalder

Title: Switch
Series: New World #1
Author: Janelle Stalder
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Pages: 259, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 4.31 stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My Content Rating: 18+ (New adult - explicit sex!!)

Summary from Goodreads: All’s fair in love and war. 

Two thirds of the world's population has been wiped out, devastated by the worst war earth has ever seen. Still standing amongst the ruins is a mind reader who finds herself on the wrong side of the war. Everyone does what they must to survive. When the rebels bent on bringing down the New World leader start to rise up, it is her job to make sure they stay down where they belong. That is, until one rebel sneaks past her defences and into her heart. Love will blossom from the ashes, but will it be enough to save them, or will it mean the end of them both?

Switch is an amazing New Adult dystopian read that will keep you reading into the wee hours of the night!

Charlotte has a secret - she can read minds.  But when New World soldiers come marching into her life and her secret is revealed, her life is irrevocably changed.  She is given a new name (Dinah) and a new identity - Weapon X - the New World leader's mind reader and third in command.  Dinah is practical and doesn't mind her new role - much.  Until one day when she is tasked with infiltrating the rebels and she finds herself getting closer and closer to the people she's supposed to betray.

The negatives:
  • Quick romance.  My only real complaint about this book is that the romance developed really quickly (bordering on insta-love - or, at the very least, insta-lust).  If you are a regular reader of my reviews, you know that this can completely ruin a book for me.  The fact that I still found myself loving Switch attests to how good it really is.  I was able to forgive Pete and Dinah for their instant attraction to each other (and for another similar instant attraction between two other characters that I won't spoil) because I was so engrossed in everything else that was happening in the book!  Still, I wish Stalder had given us a little more time to see the relationship and attraction build between Pete and Dinah before they jumped right into needing to see each other.
  • Dinah/Charlotte.  Dinah (or Charlotte, as she was originally known as) could have been a really annoying character.  Honestly, I'm not sure why she wasn't - she's pretty snarky and cold and has shut off most of her emotions, especially at the beginning of the book.  Because of this, I was worried that I wouldn't connect with her (as sometimes happens when I read a book with a cold protagonist).  But, Stalder somehow manages to make Dinah relatable.  Maybe it's because we see in the very first scene of the book how Dinah came to be so emotionless.  Or maybe it's because, no matter how often Dinah tells herself that she feels nothing, we get to see snippets of those emotions she's trying to close off throughout the book, and we can't help but want to see more - to pull them out of her!  I can't really say exactly why, but I found myself liking Dinah even when she was slightly unlikable, even when she didn't like herself.  And then, once she starts up a relationship with Pete, we see her loosen up a bit and she becomes a more well-rounded character - well, then I liked her even more!
  • Blurred lines between right and wrong.  I absolutely LOVED that none of the characters in this book were really "good guys" or "bad guys".  Obviously, there are characters whose point of view you agree with more, but there are no knights in shining armor and no villains twisting their little mustaches and tying women to railroad tracks.  Morality in this book is much more ambiguous than that.  The "evil" leaders of the New World can sometimes be friendly and even likable (especially Roman, second in command - the man who did something unthinkable and, you would think, unforgivable in the very first scene of the book!).  But then, the leaders of the revolution might be no better than the New World leaders.  While the main characters are definitely more sympathetic (and maybe more "good"?) than the leaders on either side of the equation, they are certainly no angels.  Pete is a hothead who looks for a fight and Dinah herself has killed people for the government she sometimes hates.  There is no black and white here - which makes it that much more interesting to read!
  • Chemistry.  While I said that I wished there was a bit more development between Pete and Dinah, that doesn't mean that they lacked chemistry!  I actually LOVED them together - I just wanted to see more of the development at the beginning of their relationship.  And, while the sex scenes thankfully didn't overtake the plot of the book, the scenes between Pete and Dinah - um, yeah, they are steamy (way too steamy for me to quote any of it here on my blog)!  
  • Secondary characters.  Not only did I love Dinah and Pete, but I was equally enamored with all of the secondary characters in this book.  Pete's friends and brothers were especially endearing in a tough-guy sort of way.  The book is actually told from several points of view, which can sometimes be a real drawback (because I inevitably don't enjoy one of the points of view as much), but in this case, I was invested in every character (it also helped that the times the POV strayed away from Pete or Dinah were kept short).  
  • The ending.  The ending of this book totally killed me because my Kindle said that I was only at 82%!  I was all set for a little more resolution, but I do think that this book ended in the perfect spot to set us up for the next installment.  I will definitely be reading book #2 in this series to find out what happens next!!
Switch was an incredibly enjoyable read that left me wanting MORE!!  I recommend this book to all fans of New Adult books who appreciate dystopian novels!  4.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***