The Sandcastle Empire
When all hope is gone, how do you survive? Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected. This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.

The Sandcastle Empire Details

TitleThe Sandcastle Empire
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJun 6th, 2017
PublisherHarperTeen
ISBN0062484877
ISBN-139780062484871
Number of pages464 pages
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia

The Sandcastle Empire Review

  • Korrina (OwlCrate)
    November 15, 2016
    4.5 stars! This book kept me up all night with a fast-beating heart. It had so many twists, turns, secrets, scares, and romantic moments. I don't want to give anything away, because I think it's best to go into this book blind. If you liked LOST, you'll definitely love this book. I predict that it will be the next big dystopian novel!
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  • Anna Priemaza
    March 17, 2016
    I devoured this book and loved every last second of it! From the very first chapter, when Eden stands on a boardwalk near a mine-littered beach, planning to make a break for it and escape the Wolves who stand guard, the story grabbed hold of me and didn't let go until the very end.The main character, Eden, was the perfect mix of strong/bad-ass and flawed/scarred to make her super loveable, the secondary characters all popped out of the page, and the entire book was an action-packed, non-stop pag I devoured this book and loved every last second of it! From the very first chapter, when Eden stands on a boardwalk near a mine-littered beach, planning to make a break for it and escape the Wolves who stand guard, the story grabbed hold of me and didn't let go until the very end.The main character, Eden, was the perfect mix of strong/bad-ass and flawed/scarred to make her super loveable, the secondary characters all popped out of the page, and the entire book was an action-packed, non-stop page-turner set in a cool (but terrifying) slightly futuristic world that combined nature and technology.What really blew me away about THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE, though, was the writing. It's rare to find a book that’s action-packed and riveting, that also boasts gorgeous writing, but TSE excels at both. With lines like “It's so cold the stars start to look like shards of ice that have chipped from the iceberg moon,” and “Death starts like this: hope dies first,” the writing regularly took my breath away. The writing was somehow consistently contemplative and poetic, without ever slowing down the can't-put-it-down pace.The combination of the action-packed story, loveable characters, and gorgeous writing made me absolutely adore this book. I can't recommend it enough.
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  • Tink Magoo is bad at reviews
    March 12, 2017
    As a survival story - 5 starsAs a dystopian/futuristic corporate run society story - 2 starsAs a standalone with a resolved ending - 1 starAs the first part of a series or duo - 3.5 stars "The enemy wore sheep's clothes for many years before it bared it's fangs and went for blood. Fathers. Brothers. The barista who your daily latte, the guy behind the fish counter at the grocery store, the girl in Sephora who taught you how to line your eyes. All seemingly unconnected, until one day they were a As a survival story - 5 starsAs a dystopian/futuristic corporate run society story - 2 starsAs a standalone with a resolved ending - 1 starAs the first part of a series or duo - 3.5 stars "The enemy wore sheep's clothes for many years before it bared it's fangs and went for blood. Fathers. Brothers. The barista who your daily latte, the guy behind the fish counter at the grocery store, the girl in Sephora who taught you how to line your eyes. All seemingly unconnected, until one day they were a force." It's hard to review this one because firstly, I have no idea how to describe it - dystopian/survival with power hungry corporation bad guys + a side of romance, maybe and secondly because my rating largely depends on whether there will be a second book. The majority of this revolves around the group's survival on an island, with the underlying plot starting at around 32%. It's this 'plot' that I can't decide on. The first 60% of the story I really enjoyed which is largely their setting up on the island, finding things to survive and looking for the sanctuary. Past that point, it started to drag a bit. The romance is kind of irrelevant as I never felt any connection because there was too much going on around them. And though you can say the plot point was achieved, it ended too openly for a standalone book.If there isn't going to be a follow-up I think my rating would be lower because tings aren't wrapped up well. There were just too many different things mashed together for it to work as a whole in my opinion. If you take away the coroprate aspect and focus on the dystopian/ survival aspect then this would be a 5 star read for me. "War is like this : consuming, ravenous, feeding and feeding until there's nothing left to take and all that's left is ash." "Survival is born as much from fear as it is from bravery." No one is more surprised than I am that my hand fits so well in someone else's."
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  • Emily Murphy
    April 5, 2016
    "No one ever prepared me for hope to be so tangled with fear."And this book is flush with both, in the best possible way.First of all--the writing. The prose is beautiful. Olson's words shimmer like the lush jungle setting she's created, and the plot slithers, curves, and strikes. I loved the descriptions--gorgeous lines like "trees [are in] all shades of green until shadows stain them black." The main character, Eden, takes this book beyond simply boasting a killer plot--which it does in spades "No one ever prepared me for hope to be so tangled with fear."And this book is flush with both, in the best possible way.First of all--the writing. The prose is beautiful. Olson's words shimmer like the lush jungle setting she's created, and the plot slithers, curves, and strikes. I loved the descriptions--gorgeous lines like "trees [are in] all shades of green until shadows stain them black." The main character, Eden, takes this book beyond simply boasting a killer plot--which it does in spades--to something deeper with her poignant, piercing insights. This book has everything: adventure, suspense, stunning writing, twists and turns, inventive futuristic science and technology elements, and complex characters with shifting motives--not to mention several passages that pulled hard on my heart strings. SANDCASTLE EMPIRE is a striking look at people pushed to their psychological and moral limits as the world edges closer to its physical ones; an elegantly written thriller, and an instant classic that I couldn't put down.
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  • Elise (The Bookish Actress)
    February 23, 2017
    1.5 stars, rounded up because... it's an arc and I want to be nice? This was entirely disappointing. The Sandcastle Empire originally pulled me in with a completely awesome opening. We begin on a beach where Eden is waiting to execute her escape plan. Shit gets real very fast and Eden encounters Alexa, Hope, and Finnley. Both Eden and Alexa had so much character potential and intrigue about them. There's a bit of infodumping, but Kayla Olson creates a picture of an intriguing world. Unfortunatel 1.5 stars, rounded up because... it's an arc and I want to be nice? This was entirely disappointing. The Sandcastle Empire originally pulled me in with a completely awesome opening. We begin on a beach where Eden is waiting to execute her escape plan. Shit gets real very fast and Eden encounters Alexa, Hope, and Finnley. Both Eden and Alexa had so much character potential and intrigue about them. There's a bit of infodumping, but Kayla Olson creates a picture of an intriguing world. Unfortunately, that beginning went completely to waste. Everything in this novel was a prop for the plot, and the plot couldn't carry this novel. Everything That Failed HereCHARACTERS: 1.5 stars. Alexa and Eden both turn into generic stock characters who are obsessed with their boyfriends. They have no motivations for anything they do. Hope, Finnley, and Lonan don't even pretend to have solid characters. Everyone is a stock character. WORLDBUILDING: 2.5 stars. The existence of the Wolfpack feels arbitrary, and it's not made clear exactly how much of the world they've taken over. But somewhere in this novel, Olson had something to say about environmentalism and corporate greed. She just didn't get the message across very well. ROMANCE: 2 stars. The two characters have no connection, they just get together because the author wants them to. They also get together far too early in their relationship, which takes any tension out of their interactions. Not that there was any. Instalove ruins everything again. And what about the plot....?Oh yes, the plot. Well, there was one. I think? Maybe?The plot felt completely manufactured and convoluted, partially because of the lack of character-driven action. The characters' plans changed at the drop of a hat. You could've cut over half this novel out and the ending would be the same. The entire section from when the girls got to the island to when the Generic Hot Guys showed up could've been cut. I'm serious. The other major problem with the action scenes is that everything revolves around setting, and the setting isn't described clearly. There's a lodge, and a lake, and a cave, and some kind of tree. The book didn't describe where they are in relation to each other, it's just kind of assumed that we Get It Already. I didn't understand anything about the setting, which made the plot seem even weirder.The writing style is good, but it's too subdued to hold the action. Final NotesI'm really sad I didn't enjoy this, especially when the beginning was so good. Eden's interlude chapters were intriguing as well, but they couldn't carry this terrible plotting for me. Not recommended.
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  • Anatea Oroz
    March 27, 2017
    It has been so long since I've read a dystopian book, and I have to say, I've been really missing the genre. I always get so excited when I am finding out about the post-apocalyptic world and how the things are, who is in charge and what's there left of the normal world. The Sandcastle Empire had a pretty slow beginning and only at around 30% did it really pick up in speed. After that, the action was full on. We started finding out what is happening on that island, what is happening in the world It has been so long since I've read a dystopian book, and I have to say, I've been really missing the genre. I always get so excited when I am finding out about the post-apocalyptic world and how the things are, who is in charge and what's there left of the normal world. The Sandcastle Empire had a pretty slow beginning and only at around 30% did it really pick up in speed. After that, the action was full on. We started finding out what is happening on that island, what is happening in the world, and what is happening with the characters. I loved every minute of this book. The only thing I wish was done differently is the romance. I loved Lonan and Eden, I just felt their relationship wasn't explored to the full potential. Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest
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  • Gwen Cole
    January 6, 2017
    The writing in this book is just so fantastic and captivating, and along with the amazing imagery, you'll be transported into this world where nobody is safe. An excellent debut to start off the new year, hitting shelves this June!
  • Jilly Gagnon
    December 21, 2016
    Oh my god, this book was CRACK.Seriously, from the moment I started reading I was addicted to the story. Olson creates a world so vivid, so rich with detail, that it's almost impossible not to be sucked in almost immediately. This is the kind of book where too many of my favorite moments are tied up in spoilers, but suffice it to say that I devoured the incredibly well-thought-out world, the fascinating, unique characters, and the all-too-plausible plot like a hungry......I'd say wolf, but yeah, Oh my god, this book was CRACK.Seriously, from the moment I started reading I was addicted to the story. Olson creates a world so vivid, so rich with detail, that it's almost impossible not to be sucked in almost immediately. This is the kind of book where too many of my favorite moments are tied up in spoilers, but suffice it to say that I devoured the incredibly well-thought-out world, the fascinating, unique characters, and the all-too-plausible plot like a hungry......I'd say wolf, but yeah, no. ;)
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  • Cookie
    December 29, 2016
    What a surprising book! I really enjoyed it and I'm hoping there's more to the story!also, ALSO you should TOTALLY add this book because the writing is AMAZING and the story is BRILLIANT and i'm really excited for everyone to read this okay.
  • Carlie Sorosiak
    March 1, 2016
    Anything can happen to anyone, whether they deserve it or not.You know when you pick up a book, you're two pages in, and you can visualize everything? When you immediately know a world like your own skin? That's The Sandcastle Empire. It's a deeply immersive experience, and I can absolutely see why the film rights got snatched up so quickly. Lost comparisons are totally accurate. This book really has everything: suspense, intrigue, futuristic (yet scarily realistic) technology, love, family, bet Anything can happen to anyone, whether they deserve it or not.You know when you pick up a book, you're two pages in, and you can visualize everything? When you immediately know a world like your own skin? That's The Sandcastle Empire. It's a deeply immersive experience, and I can absolutely see why the film rights got snatched up so quickly. Lost comparisons are totally accurate. This book really has everything: suspense, intrigue, futuristic (yet scarily realistic) technology, love, family, betrayal, plot twists... I could go on for days.The writing is astoundingly good. Olson has a particular way of describing sky that perfectly captures the mood of each scene. I especially loved her descriptions of Birch, who I fell head-over-heels for, and also Lonan! The Sandcastle Empire has two boys. Two different, very attractive boys. I mean, honestly, that was enough for me, but let's add in suspense that makes the hairs stand up on your arms, and flashbacks of Before that are so beautiful, they knock you sideways.I actually don't want to go too much into the plot, because there are so many cool scenes that I'd be afraid of spoiling a single thing. Instead, let me just say that Eden, the main character, is everything that I wanted her to be: sympathetic and kick-ass and smart. You're going to love her, too. Above all, this book represents a deep exploration into the global effects of rising sea levels, and besides wanting to read it, I think we need to read it. One of my top picks for 2017.
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  • Lola Sharp
    May 16, 2016
    Y'all, put this book on your Must Have list, because this book is special!! The plot is exciting & fast paced, the stakes high, and yet, on a prose level, the writing is GORGEOUS. Truly beautiful writing. I'm sincere when I say I loved this ms and Kayla is very talented and I expect Big Things in her future.
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  • Breeana Shields
    February 8, 2017
    Soooo good! I couldn’t put this one down. Beautiful prose and such a unique story. I was totally captivated!
  • A.V. Geiger
    December 30, 2016
    Some books are worth reading because of gorgeous writing. Some because of a brilliantly original plot. Some because they challenge us to think critically about the world we live in... And then every once in a while, a book comes along that has all three of these rare qualities in equal measure. The Sandcastle Empire is one of those books. This one is special, folks. You don't want to miss it.
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  • Jen Malone
    January 7, 2017
    This island is cooler and creepier (and just as mysterious) as the one on LOST- and this story is no less twisty-turny. I loved it!
  • Amanda Searcy
    February 28, 2016
    Read this book! It’s a little bit Hunger Games, a little bit Indiana Jones, and a whole lot of completely unique-ness. The Sandcastle Empire takes place in a terrifyingly possible near future where environmental catastrophe and economic disparities have caused a world war. You won’t know who’s telling the truth as you go on an edge-of-your-seat journey across the very scary island. Set aside a block of time; you won’t want to put this down!
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  • Ava
    April 2, 2017
    This high-stakes survival story coming from debut writer Kayla Olson is a wonderful addition to YA. The writing is one of my favorite parts of the book - It's stunning but simple enough to understand, the perfect balance between flowery and boring. I liked the main character, Eden, who seemed REAL and relatable. Some of the environmental aspects of this one went a liiiiittle over my head? But I still enjoyed it, for sure. I would definitely recommend you check this one out when it releases.
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  • Tanaz
    October 9, 2016
    I imagine the Wolves are sandcastles, easily crushed and washed away. I imagine there will be a day when they are nothing but a memory. The future and the effects of climate change arrive in 2049. Floods swallow islands, contaminate drinking water, spread disease. But when the governments fail to protect their citizens and supply the poor with clean drinking water, a powerful group called the Wolfpack emerges, taking over the world and sorting its inhabitants into gulags. Eden is imprisoned in o I imagine the Wolves are sandcastles, easily crushed and washed away. I imagine there will be a day when they are nothing but a memory. The future and the effects of climate change arrive in 2049. Floods swallow islands, contaminate drinking water, spread disease. But when the governments fail to protect their citizens and supply the poor with clean drinking water, a powerful group called the Wolfpack emerges, taking over the world and sorting its inhabitants into gulags. Eden is imprisoned in one of the Wolfpack’s work camps, desperately waiting for an opportunity to escape. It happens one day, with a series of explosions on the island. Eden flees on a sailboat with three other girls: nervous Finnley, shrewd Alexa, optimistic Hope. The girls hope to reach an island that Eden's father once told her about: Sanctuary, the only place where they hope to find refuge from the Wolfpack.But when Finnley suddenly disappears upon reaching the island, Eden and her companions discover that Sanctuary is filled with secrets of its own. Kayla Olson’s writing is elegant and full of finesse, her story keeping me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The suspense starts from page one and then builds gradually, each revelation slowly unravelling more and more about this world and its characters. Reading THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE felt like watching a movie; each scene is so vividly described. Eden’s flashbacks to the world before the war add poignancy to the novel, further underscoring the precariousness of their situation now. Highly recommended for readers of YA science fiction with mystery, adventure, complex family relationships and survival.
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  • Andrew Shvarts
    February 12, 2017
    As a dude with a toddler, two jobs, and a crippling videogame addiction, it usually takes me at least a week to get through a book. But I *tore through* THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE, staying up waaaaaay too late to get to the end. That's because this is, no doubt, one of the most thrilling, action-packed books I've read in ages. It kicks right off with a thrilling and amazingly tense escape scene, then hurtles on at a breakneck pace, weaving through deadly booby-traps, mysterious islands, sinister vill As a dude with a toddler, two jobs, and a crippling videogame addiction, it usually takes me at least a week to get through a book. But I *tore through* THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE, staying up waaaaaay too late to get to the end. That's because this is, no doubt, one of the most thrilling, action-packed books I've read in ages. It kicks right off with a thrilling and amazingly tense escape scene, then hurtles on at a breakneck pace, weaving through deadly booby-traps, mysterious islands, sinister villains, and jaw-dropping plot twists. Throw in gorgeous prose, a truly kickass main character, and an eerily (and increasingly) topical premise, and you've got an absolute must-read.
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  • Olivia (The Candid Cover)
    January 25, 2017
    It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a dystopian, and The Sandcastle Empire seems really interesting. I am intrigued by the idea of a group controlling the world’s resources except for on one island. I have read a few books about surviving in the jungle before and have enjoyed them, so I have high hopes for this one. I can’t wait to read it in the summer!
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  • Alexandra Ott
    January 24, 2017
    I stayed up all night devouring this book, and I absolutely loved it. It's fast-paced and thrilling, with a truly riveting plot. And the writing is so, so gorgeous. Line after line just took my breath away. I was glued to this story until the very end. Highly recommend!
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  • Cale Dietrich
    November 10, 2016
    This book is the action-packed YA thrill ride of your dreams. It’s also thoughtful, beautifully written, and ridiculously entertaining. I’ve seen comps to LOST, as like that amazing show, the setting is a mysterious island with many mysteries and dangers lurking within the jungle. I loved this setting so much. I don’t want to spoil anything about the island and its many, many secrets, but I think one of the biggest joys of this book is exploring this setting that is so unique and intriguing. I k This book is the action-packed YA thrill ride of your dreams. It’s also thoughtful, beautifully written, and ridiculously entertaining. I’ve seen comps to LOST, as like that amazing show, the setting is a mysterious island with many mysteries and dangers lurking within the jungle. I loved this setting so much. I don’t want to spoil anything about the island and its many, many secrets, but I think one of the biggest joys of this book is exploring this setting that is so unique and intriguing. I kept turning the pages to try and learn more about this deadly place. I was worried about the characters, but I kept finding myself wanting them to explore so I could learn more, although I was worried about the varied, inventive and sometimes terrifying defences they face when they explore. The way Olson developed this tension yet still somehow left me so curious about what else could be out there was just incredible.Eden is an amazing protagonist, and she goes on a real journey in this book. The side characters are also great - they all made their mark and had a moment to shine, and I grew to care for all of them. The romance, too, is just fantastic. I’m being vague here, because this is a book that I think it’s best to discover for yourself. But I will say that I feel like this is the type of book that creates hardcore shippers and fan art and all that. I can’t wait for this, because I too am a pretty hardcore fan of this book. A very easy five stars for a book that I think everyone will talk about next year.
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  • Katy Upperman
    January 31, 2017
    I had high expectations for this forthcoming debut, and the story far exceeded them. I mean, this book is strong. It’s high-concept and high-stakes (it plays out like a summer blockbuster), but the prose is just so gorgeous–almost poetic. I felt completely consumed by this post-apocalyptic world, where the “haves” have been dethroned, and the “have-nots” have seized all power and privilege. Main character Eden is on a mission to find sanctuary on what might be a mythical island, with a rag-tag c I had high expectations for this forthcoming debut, and the story far exceeded them. I mean, this book is strong. It’s high-concept and high-stakes (it plays out like a summer blockbuster), but the prose is just so gorgeous–almost poetic. I felt completely consumed by this post-apocalyptic world, where the “haves” have been dethroned, and the “have-nots” have seized all power and privilege. Main character Eden is on a mission to find sanctuary on what might be a mythical island, with a rag-tag crew thrown together by circumstance and desperation. Eden’s incredibly strong, but with vulnerabilities, and she has a way of drawing the reader in, until they feel as sweaty and breathless and scared and hopeless as she feels. While this novel is very much a somber story about what could be, it boasts a romance, too, which was (of course) my favorite part. My least favorite part? Um, the fact that I have to wait until 2018 to find out what’s going to happen to Eden next!
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  • alex
    April 1, 2017
    I am currently typing this from my grabe, because this book MURDERED my feels. Full review to come!
  • Tracey Neithercott
    October 25, 2016
    Fear mixed with bitterness never ends well, and fear mixed with power? Ends worlds.It’s not often I come across such beautiful prose paired with such a pulse-pounding pace. Here’s how you understand what I mean: “I am electricity itself. It’s a wonder the entire jungle doesn’t burst into light.”And here’s how you understand what I mean: I read all* 464 pages of this book in two days—and it only took me that long because work demanded I actually, you know, work.The Sandcastle Empire is lush in ev Fear mixed with bitterness never ends well, and fear mixed with power? Ends worlds.It’s not often I come across such beautiful prose paired with such a pulse-pounding pace. Here’s how you understand what I mean: “I am electricity itself. It’s a wonder the entire jungle doesn’t burst into light.”And here’s how you understand what I mean: I read all* 464 pages of this book in two days—and it only took me that long because work demanded I actually, you know, work.The Sandcastle Empire is lush in every sense of the word: rich prose, exciting plot, and a setting that is like an added character. (And if you loved the TV show LOST half as much as I did, you’ll truly appreciate this setting.) The main character, Eden, is such a strong character—smart, resilient, forgiving—and yet so broken by the world around her. Broken like the world around her. All of the characters in The Sandcastle Empire were well crafted, all in varying shades of gray that made them feel human. I have a soft spot for Lonan—who might have been a sweet boy next door somewhere if it weren’t for war and the moral complications that come with it—and for Alexa, whose character arc was so delicately crafted and satisfying.Highly recommended to anyone looking for a fast-paced adventure story with seriously gorgeous prose.*** OK, that’s a teensy lie. I skimmed over a scene with lots of bugs. I’m sure it was suspenseful and wonderful, but nope. Nope nope.** I read an early copy of this, so the quotes above might change. But probably not, because they’re beautiful.
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  • Jessica Capelle
    February 18, 2016
    Loved loved loved. More later.
  • Susan Nixon
    February 17, 2017
    This was an interesting read - it took me a while to get into this book but once I got a little further into the book there was plenty of action! There are many secrets, surprises and twists and turns!
  • Samantha Myers
    January 5, 2017
    Review via ARC It says YA on the tin but I didn’t come across a lot of the “typical cliches” that YA is usually associated with. They weren’t present and I found that extremely refreshing, and even when it was present it wasn’t doused by the plot - it felt natural, not pinned in, and not of the “insta” sort. Eden, for this, is probably one of the better characters I’ve read in this genre in a while for her mix of scarred and brave yet humanly flawed.The plot was engaging. The reality here is tha Review via ARC It says YA on the tin but I didn’t come across a lot of the “typical cliches” that YA is usually associated with. They weren’t present and I found that extremely refreshing, and even when it was present it wasn’t doused by the plot - it felt natural, not pinned in, and not of the “insta” sort. Eden, for this, is probably one of the better characters I’ve read in this genre in a while for her mix of scarred and brave yet humanly flawed.The plot was engaging. The reality here is that I can easily see this version of the future that Eden, along with all the secondary characters who were with their own flaws and motives, live in along with its expansive technology and impact on the nature around it. The writing Olson delivers when you dive into Eden’s world is sharp, vivid, and gorgeous. I'll be on the look out for her future work.
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  • Julie
    January 12, 2017
    This book was interesting world. I saw a slight romance . I wanted to know more but I guess that will come with the next book. I liked that this book dealt with different groups and surviving on an island. They are trying to get away from the wolves.
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