Published by HarperTeen on March 26th 2013
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Welcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants —- hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin. Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.
To be honest, I have a lot of thoughts about Wasteland. While I wish they could all be positive, they are not. In fact, looking back at Wasteland, I sometimes think it was a miracle that I finished this one at all. Which is really disappointing due to its interesting concept and potential.
In Wasteland, no one lives to see age 20. Life is bleak. Water and food are scarce. It is survival of the fittest. In small town called Prin, they make due… surprisingly so.
From the beginning, Wasteland drew me in with the promises of rebellion and post- apocalyptic setting. While some promises were met, Wasteland as a whole bordered on pretty disappointing. From its lack of world-building to superficial everything, Wasteland is a whole lot of details with very little depth. Now, I don't need to have everything explained to me, and not every question will have an answer. However, in a world like Wasteland, there has to be at least a little something for me to work with. Yet, Wasteland didn't give me that. No explanation to how this world became the way that it did. No explanation for why it is expected for everyone to only live to age nineteen. Honestly, no explanations really of any sort. While that may work for some reads, sadly in Wasteland, it does not.
As for our characters, here I am conflicted. Told in the third person, Wasteland, at times, felt all over the place. Giving glimpses into each character whether major or minor. While I appreciated to seeing a little bit of each person, it also takes away from really getting to know any one character. Making it hard to relate or even care from their situation or what they were trying to achieve. This lack of depth for our characters is most apparent when it comes to the romance. Esther and Celeb had potential to be a great romantic force. Instead it came across as…
Caleb: Wow, you looking like a person I would want to get to know.
Esther: Yea, you too. We are fighting for the same thing. Let's team up!
Caleb: I love you. Want to be my partner / mate?
Esther: I love you too! Yes! Let's always be together.
The romance didn't exactly go down like that, but I think you get the idea.
After finishing the last pages, I was glad that I finished Wasteland. Are there faults to the read? Um… yes! However, I did finished the book feeling satisfied and with a smile on my face. So, that has to count for something.
Will I read the next installment?
The blurb states that Wasteland is the start of a trilogy. For me, I have no idea why. The ending of Wasteland was solid with no real hint of what could / should happen next. Personally, if this is truly a start to a trilogy, I would be open to reading more, but only if I can get a back story or something.