When I first heard about this book I was interested in reading it because it sounded like it could be something drastically different from what's out there on the market today. I was correct in this fact, but it also wasn't what I was expecting it to be. The synopsis talks about "a breathtaking race" and so the first thing that popped into my mind was a high-octane race with futuristic cars and the like. Now that I look back on that idea it seems a little silly because a book like that probably wouldn't be very long, and most likely wouldn't require a sequel. What it turned into was something more akin to The Amazing Race with a sci-fi Hidalgo twist. Despite not being what I expected I found that I was quite pleased with the book as a whole, although there were a few parts that made me slightly weary. In terms of the characters I was fairly happy with how they all turned out. The main character does seem slightly out of place in this crazy Survivor-esque atmosphere, although I admit I like her spunk and her personality as a whole. What I think I loved most about the book though is the Pandoras, the animal companions that all of the racers have, at least at the start of the competition. That idea was so much fun and each one is just so unique. I wouldn't mind having one of those for myself. I was also a little confused as to what particular time period it takes place in, but that's not necessarily the most important thing. The only other thing that tugged at me was the fact that some parts could have been cut and the duology could probably have been fit into one larger book, although I do understand why it was split up. Other than those few small things I found the book to be engaging and entertaining, as well as being pretty original in concept and, in some aspects, in a main character, who (although it wasn't particularly appealing to me) was more girly than most female protagonists thrust into positions such as this. Fans of The Hunger Games and the like will probably enjoy this new series from an author that shows great promise and I'll definitely be checking out book two to see how it all ends.
Out February 25, 2014
4/5 dust spirits
*Thanks to Scholastic for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in return for an honest review.