Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Keywords: family, dystopia, society
Format Read: ARC via publisher (thank you!)
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The whole premise behind this book sounded extremely interesting, so when it showed up on my doorstep, I knew I would give it a shot because 1. winter is my favorite and 2. the mystery aspect intrigued me.
To start off, much of the book takes place in the lead up to winter. In fact, I'm pretty sure we didn't see a single snowflake during the whole book. It was mostly people in the town talking about the scary winter storm that loomed ahead, so they had to get all their stuff done before then.
But seasonal confusion aside, it started off pretty interesting. There was a good cast of characters I was looking forward to getting to know, and there seemed to be so much suspense and sadness surrounding Em's desire to explore and her fear to venture too far out. But then I reached about 45 pages in and immediately. the. book. slowed. almost. to. a. stop. Grinding halt. It seemed like nothing was happening for pages and pages, and some men appeared like one named Kane that was close in status and age to Em. I didn't really know where he came from other than that she talked about him all of the sudden. And a member of the council became interested in her for literally no visible reason whatsoever? He was very eager to court her, but really provided no proof he was interested other than saying she was interesting. Which, how would he know? He's never spoken to her...
Finally, the book picked up again in the last 75 pages or so, and I flew through those. I wanted that action to be spread out a little bit more and developed moreso than it was. There were so many questions I had and still have about what happened with Em's family, what was the history of the town, why it's a crime to go anywhere. None of these were really answered, and most of them just seemed to exist as laws to not question in this book world. Which I wasn't okay with.
For a book with a really exciting premise, for me, it fell short on delivery. Flat characters, confusing plot, and too many questions by the end make me steer clear from wanting to pick up another (because there may? be a book 2? I'm not really sure how this could have been an ending, but I can't imagine reading more about this weird and nonsensical town).