Monday, June 18, 2012
"Possession" by Elana Johnson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
From Goodreads: "Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.
This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play."
This book's biggest weakness was also it's biggest strength- because I never fully understood what was going on I found myself all the more engaged and intrigued, wanting to figure out what was going on by piecing together its rather haphazard components.
I never fully understood what was going on in this book for a number of different reasons- one being that author Elana Johnson continuously made reference to various things (usually technology, but also people/ occupations, and places) without explaining what/ who they are/ without giving us the proper context (almost as if she believes that stickers, tech, thinkers, etc. are everyday/ common occurrences).
Another reason why I had difficulties comprehending this book was due to the almost complete lack of world-building (I have read numerous dystopians lately and this is BY FAR the least developed of all of them). I think (?) that the world within this book is divided into a few sectors of peope/ locations- the Goodlands where 'goodies' live, brainwashed people who full abide by the laws of their government, the Badlands where 'baddies' live, those people who possess 'freer' will (RE: they are not entirely free from their government- they are not brainwashed on a daily basis), the outlying districts such as Seaside where political asylum seekers are allowed to thrive and Freedom, the capital city which is the most rigid and controlled of them all. But then again... I could be mistaken as there are various elements I don't understand- like, what exactly are the treaties? If Vi fit into the category of aslyum seeker than why was she still obtained in Seaside? Also, I would have LOVED some explanation as to how this world came into being.
Additionally I was irked by both main characters, Vi and Jag. They are BY FAR the most contradictory characters I have ever encountered before and together HANDS DOWN the most dysfunctional couple. I actually feel as if I am suffering from whiplash from their relationship constantly volleying back and forth from a love one to a hate one (BTW by forewarned, this book has one of the biggest cases of insta-love that I have ever encountered before- within a week of meeting one another they are declaring their undying love for one another despite Vi already having a predetermined life partner who she also loves).
That being said, I found Vi and Jay (okay, more so Jay than Vi) to be utterly charming/ swoon-worthy (which I know to be quite ridiculous as A. he is a huge jerk and B. has few redeeming qualities). I thought that all things aside they were quite fun and entertaining characters and they brought a smile to my face when few characters as of late have.
As mentioned, the convoluted-ness of this book was also its biggest strength- as while reading this book I kept thinking to myself, "Maybe in the next chapter everything will be revealed? Oh, it isn't? Well, maybe the next chapter!" (BTW it wasn't). Perhaps what was the best thing about this book though (and I know that I am going to sound totally contradictory, not unlike Vi and Jay) is that despite having very little idea about what this book is about, I don't regret reading it in the slightest, nor do I feel that I wasted my time in doing so. This book is quite unlike anything I have ever read before and I do hope to one day understand it in its entirety. Until then I will continue on with this series.