I liked this book, but it had some major problems.
World building. I totally get how this happens because it happens in my own writing, but I couldn’t feel the world very well. Carman does a great job of detailing the wall and how it was built, but we never really get a glimpse of the city. We don’t see the bustling streets, or people at all. Where are the other children? Where are the other adults? They don’t exist for us because we don’t ever see them. I wanted to believe that the world we were in was huge. Four HUGE walled cities all connected. But I couldn’t. It felt more like Alexa’s house was the only house in the city.
Alexa is chosen for a special task that no one else can do. She is told not to tell anyone. So when she comes in she immediately decides not to trust the cats who have given her no reason not to trust them. From some very vague dialogue she decides the cats are traitors. I couldn’t see what in the cats’ dialogue told her that.
THEN she goes and tells everyone and their brother the things she isn’t supposed to tell anyone. What? Were you born with even half a brain? Irritated me so much.
What I loved:
The pacing. The pacing of this book was fantastic. I was enthralled the entire time. The scene where she and a chipmunk have to steal the special collar from one of the cats was awesome.
Mystery. For most of the book I was kept guessing who Sebastian was, though I think Carman was a bit heavy handed with his hints at the end.
This quote: “The size of your body is just right. The only question is whether you're big enough inside.” Only a wise bear could make such an announcement.
I will be reading the rest of the books. This first installment in the series gets 4 stars.