Author: Lauren DeStefano
Narrator: Laura Knight Keating
Series: The Internment Chronicles, book #1
Length: 9 hrs 4 mins
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: October 3, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.
Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.
It's getting exceedingly more difficult to commend books for having a unique premise with each new entry into dystopian territory, but I have to admit, this one is pretty different, at least in its execution. I still don't really understand the how of the floating island: how it ended up floating in the first place, how it stays afloat, or how no one else seems to question these things. There are some serious religious undertones here, and those questions could have been explained away by the existence of their "Sun God", but I usually start daydreaming whenever a story moves in that direction, so I can't be sure.
The thing I questioned most, though, was how those who neared the edge of the island -- termed jumpers, whether they actually jumped or not -- went mad. Like, insane in the membrane. Or were otherwise incapacitated. Or, if they were of the daring sort and actually did jump, some mysterious force threw them back up on the island, dead as a doornail. I need some science, some answers, here!
But, as is usually the case with the first installment in a new series, we aren't getting any answers this time around. There are, however, mysterious murders, clandestine meetings, arranged marriages, kidnappings, and royal siblings. This is, for better or worse, a book centered around world-building and less on character development. Although, it is easy to see just from this first book that Morgan is very Rhine-like in her mannerisms and impulsiveness.
I was really excited about this story when I first found out Lauren DeStefano had a new book coming out, but I'm not even sure I'll finish the series now. I didn't connect with any of the characters...not even a little. The love interest is of the puppy dog variety, and while I do adore a sweet romance, this one is not captivating in the least. And that's after taking into account that the inevitability of a love triangle is looming strong on the horizon. And though this was a world-building novel, and I understand the inner-workings and politics of it, I still didn't get any of my questions answered, even to a small degree.
The narration of the audiobook was also just so-so. It wasn't stellar but it wasn't terrible. The narrator just sounded, well, sad. Even at the beginning before Morgan was aware that anything was amiss on Internment. It actually reminded me of the narrator for Fever, which was the only book in the Chemical Garden trilogy that I listened to. (I've yet to read/listen to book 3 to finish the series. Oops.) But at least in that book, I knew what she had to be dismayed about, even from the onset of the story.
The summary simply promised a lot and failed to deliver. It's an intriguing story, but up until the end, it really had a hard time capturing my interest for any length of time. The ending, however, was just good enough to make me question whether I want to know what happens to these characters or not.
About the author:
Lauren DeStefano was born in New Haven, Connecticut and has never traveled far from the east coast. She received a BA in English from Albertus Magnus College, and has been writing since childhood. She made her authorial debut by writing on the back of children's menus at restaurants and filling up the notepads in her mom's purse. Her very first manuscript was written on a yellow legal pad with red pen, and it was about a haunted shed that ate small children.
Now that she is all grown up (for the most part), she writes fiction for young adults. Her failed career aspirations include: world's worst receptionist, coffee house barista, sympathetic tax collector, and English tutor. When she isn't writing, she's screaming obscenities at her Nintendo DS, freaking her cats out with the laser pen, or rescuing thrift store finds and reconstructing them into killer new outfits.
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