I received this book through the group Shut Up & Read’s Read it and Reap program. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an review.
My rating: 4/5
First Impression: through my first glimpse at the characters, I knew, Retta was a badass. I knew exactly how she felt fighting with her father. Parents are just so difficult sometimes, but they usually have your best interest at heart.
At the beginning of the story, it kind of felt like every other teenage love story. I was starting to get disappointed. After Hemingway pretty much breaks Retta’s heart trying to protect her, we start to find the true purpose of the novel: Equality. It’s easy to draw parallels from this book to the 1920’s women’s rights movement, the 1960’s civil rights movement, and even now with the Gay Rights Movement. The core of this book proposes an idea that we have been trying to figure out for hundreds of years and challenges us to change our opinions and ideals. That question is: What makes us human? What defines us as humans? Is it how we look, act, or something else?
This book may start out slightly confusing and semi-clichéd, but the author is able to incorporate suspense, and the weight of the struggle of humanity into the plot quite flawlessly. Oh and did I mention this book takes place on Mars? Anyways, this book’s plot is heavily intriguing, but still easily understood. While at the same time the author just makes you feel for the characters. You just want them to be happy, well unless you’re just a heartless creature, but that is beside the point.
I really did love a majority of the character from this story, but it was hard not to. Marta is so innocent and a little naïve, just how a pre-adolescent should be. Sonja, Hemingway’s mother, is so wacky and super intelligent that she is just awesome. Hemingway is the last character that I have yet to mention. His character is so complex, while still being realistic. He’s sweet, intelligent and chivalrous. Hemingway is portrayed as human even though he is an “android” and was created and not born. In some ways, Hemingway is one of the most human characters of the book. One more thing I noticed about Retta, she’s driven by an inner fire and passion that most humans possess; however, some of us lack this quality sadly. Retta prominently shows this quality multiple times in the book.
I had a few problems with Mei and Retta’s father, but by the end of the book you see the better side of them. Mei really is a loyal friend, but she is used to being treated like a queen so when she doesn’t get her way she can act like a petulant child. At times, it was hard to accept Retta’s father because he acted like a bigot. He never completely listened to Retta’s argument for the androids until someone’s life was threatened. Her father gives the book just enough tension for it to feel like a real issue we may argue with our parents about. In the end, he really is trying to do his best by Retta.
Overall, I did like this book. Not one of my all time favorites, but very close. I would definitely enjoy reading it again sometime. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romance, fantasy, dystopian novels and people who enjoy arguing about right and wrong. This would be a very good philosopher’s read.