Monday, December 22, 2014

Book review - Sarah Negovetich's Rite of Rejection #ya #dystopian

I’m a huge fan of dystopians and a big fan of agent Sarah Negovetich. I’ve been following her self-publishing process and absorbing everything I can since I may go that route. For those reasons, I definitely wanted to read Rite of Rejection – in addition to finding out why she, as an agent, decided self-pub was the best route. 
I had read the first chapter when I posted the cover reveal on my blog and almost decided that I wouldn’t read the book. It was clear why self-pub was the right path (and this is not in any way denigrating to Sarah or any other self-pubbed author). Rite of Rejection is a dystopian, and that sub-genre is fading and the first chapter added nothing new.

Rebecca is 16 and has to go through her Acceptance ceremony to determine if she can remain in this 18th century style society or be abandoned to the PIT with other deviants. If she stays, she’ll be married and have babies and hem skirts. Yeah, give me the PIT! Of course that’s what happens, and once there, she meets the boy who’d made her tongue-tied when he showed interest in dancing with her.

The PIT is a nasty place. But I’d just read E by Kate Wrath and boy, she can create a gritty, nasty world. The PIT probably suffered in comparison.

Rebecca joins up with a group determined to escape and she goes along with the plans, helping a bit here and there. I won’t give away any spoilers, but of course things don’t go as planned.

Here’s where I found my biggest objection to the story. People are rejected and put into the PIT because they’re possible criminals, sexual deviants, or worst of all, might have the skills to overthrow the regime. The group suspects Rebecca got tossed in because of her good grades in English class, therefore she might be a good rabble-rouser. Great. Except she would have been completely satisfied in the stifling Victorian society. And double except that in no place in the book is it ever shown that she has great speaking skills. She can’t convince people to help their rebellion. And in the end, when she has the perfect opportunity to become exactly what the rulers feared, she passes the baton to other people whom one of her group convinced to get involved.

Now I know a lot of people dislike the ending. To me, the end was the best part of the book. The best emotional scene, leaving the reader to guess, choose what will happen next. I guess I have the same sadistic streak Sarah has, I’ve written short stories with the same type of ending. I loved it!

Overall, Rite of Rejection is technically well written (okay, the editor in me would have added a few dozen commas and scrapped some clich├ęs) but I never once groaned or thought to put the book down. It’s a good story, I don’t regret buying it when maybe I could have begged a review copy. I would have loved to see Rebecca have more emotional impact (I notice this more because that’s one of my own failings). The story does make you wonder what path our world could take to end up in this place – awesome! The ending is great.

It can’t compare to Hunger Games, which is what us dystopian fans want more of. But it’s  well-written book, worth reading, and I would challenge anyone to identify what’s great about the ending – for them. I would give Rite of Rejection 3 stars as worth reading, but just not stellar. I'd give it a 3.5 if review systems accepted that!

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