Thursday, 9 May 2013

Release Day Review & Giveaway: Icons by Margaret Stohl

*Review of an eARC c/o Netgalley


Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting. Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid. She's different. She survived. Why?...
 Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.” Edited from source

Icons is the first solo release from Beautiful Creatures co-author Maragret Stohl. The story kicks off to an intriguing start with a prologue detailing Dol’s experience of what is now referred to as The Day, when the Icons arrived over the world’s main cities. Baby Dol’s last moments with her mother are documented and it soon becomes very clear that she is special.

The idea of the Icons existence and the intimidating way they have chosen to remain poised over the world’s most famous cities is a truly scary concept (very Independence Day if you ask me!). Although there is a fair amount of information to take in initially I didn’t feel overwhelmed and the writing style made it easy to follow. The first few chapters definitely leave you wanting to find out more about the Icons and their purpose. The book trailer (view below) is also a great additional tool in explaining the setup of the story and showing the state of the world that it takes place in. 

Our main character Dol (or Doloria) has been raised in the Grass, the countryside area away from where the Icon looms over the city, alongside lifelong best friend and fellow Icon Child Ro. Dol is a very emotional character who has experienced a lot of tragedy in her short life and her personality is complimented well by Ro’s fiery nature and softer core. Completing the group we have Lucas, who as the son of the Ambassador has allegiances to both sides, and my personal favourite of the four Tima who is quiet and sometimes devious but most of all very intelligent. The relationship between the four teens is a rocky but also very interesting one as they embark on an important journey as a team. Although they are tied together by their special abilities their strong personality traits are also what causes them to disagree and to be wary of each other which makes their interactions interesting to read. 

Aside from the main group there are various other interesting characters to be found in the form of Fortis, rebellion leader and Merk, and lovable computer system Doc who despite being a piece of technology has great presence as a supporting character with secrets of his own. The main disappointment character-wise was the cold and distant Ambassador Amadre, Lucas’ mother. As she represents evil in the story from afar, most of the time her character is not explored as fully as a book of this length could allow but hopefully we will get to see more of her character in the next instalment. 

Similarly to many titles that fall into the YA category there is predictably a love triangle within the story (reminiscent of that found in Ally Condie’s Matched) which seemed quite unnecessary and didn’t help in progressing the plot. Fortunately there wasn’t too much emphasis on this element so it didn’t manage to distract too much from the sci-fi and paranormal side of things however there is a danger that this successful balance may not carry through into the second book. 

Moving onto a more positive point, one of my favourite things about the book was the beautiful layout. Each chapter ends with a top secret Embassy memo in the form of a letter, poster, cutting etc in a format reminiscent of both the successful Maze Runner and Ender’s Game series. These extra little snippets allow the reader an insight into what the main characters don’t know and explore the actions and objectives of the less accessible characters, in this case the Ambassador and others at the Embassy. 

Being the first in a series I was hoping for a bit of a twist ending that would build up my excitement for the next book however I did feel that the ending presented was rather disappointing. Overall I enjoyed the story and found the concept very interesting but I also didn’t quite have that ‘I can’t put this book down’ feeling. Having said that I will definitely be picking up the second book to find out what happens next! The book has also already been optioned for a movie adaptation which I hope goes ahead as I think it would be well-suited to the big screen. 

If Icons sounds like your kind of read you’re in luck as the lovely people at Harper Collins have sent me a copy of the book to giveaway to one of you! 

The giveaway is UK only (sorry international readers!) & will be open for one week.
For your chance to win a paperback copy of the novel just fill out the Rafflecopter form below – Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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