Thursday, December 20, 2012
Book Review: Flash Point
Reality TV meets a chillingly realistic version of America—and the fame game is on!
Amy had dreams of going to college, until the Collapse destroyed the economy and her future. Now she is desperate for any job that will help support her terminally ill grandmother and rebellious younger sister. When she finds herself in the running for a slot on a new reality TV show, she signs on the dotted line, despite her misgivings. And she’s right to have them. TLN’s Who Knows People, Baby—You? has an irresistible premise: correctly predict what the teenage cast will do in a crisis and win millions. But the network has pulled strings to make it work, using everything from 24/7 hidden cameras to life-threatening technology to flat-out rigging. Worse, every time the ratings slip, TLN ups the ante. Soon Amy is fighting for her life—on and off camera.
I was so excited when I got an ARC of this in the mail. It looked absolutely amazing, and I couldn't wait to read it! But I've been disappointed by many dystopians lately, so I was careful not to let my hopes get up too high - which was a good thing, because Flash Point was very disappointing to me.
The world-building: or rather, lack of. I knew this was a sort of sci-fi dystopian when I started it. But spread throughout the story, there's quite a few references to Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail, which really took away the credibility of the dystopian-ish world, at least to me. And what was the Collapse mentioned in the summary? That wasn't made very clear until much later on in the story. And what on earth were the "phantoms" (some kind of vision in her head - I think?) that Amy kept experiencing at random moments in the story? This book needed some serious world-building.
With the large cast of characters, I was sure I could find at least one or two that I cared about, but...guess what...they are all flat and boring. The main character Amy drove me nuts, and her little sister is even more annoying. All the other characters who are on the reality show are boring, as well. It felt like they are all plot devices. I couldn't bring myself to care about any of them.
One thing that was a huge let-down is when Amy's grandmother dies about two-third or three-quarters through the story. (This isn't really a spoiler, because her grandmother is really ill throughout the story and her death is expected.) Now during the beginning of the story, Amy is constantly worrying over her grandmother and doing everything possible to keep her well. She really cares for her grandmother. But when Amy's grandmother dies, only a page or two is spent talking about it, and then Amy moves on with life as if she's perfectly fine. It's not really mentioned at all during the rest of the book. What on earth?! You'd think Amy would've spent more time grieving.
This book was just a huge disappointment to me. It's a great concept, but it all fell flat. Not to mention that it's 500 pages long. I don't mind long books, but this was just way too long. There were so many times when I wanted to not finish it, and when I was finally done, I was just glad it was over and didn't even care what had happened to the characters. Not recommended - there are so many better dystopians out there!
*Thanks to Penguin Teen for sending me a copy of this!
My rating: 3 out of 10 (1.5 stars)
~ The Bookworm