Friday, November 2, 2018

Imposters by Scott Westerfield, 2018

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Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . but very few people have ever seen them together. This is because Frey is Rafi’s double, raised in the shadow’s of their rich father’s fortress. While Rafi has been taught to charm, Frey has been taught to kill. Frey only exists to protect her sister. There is no other part of her life. Frey has never been out in the world on her own – until her father sends her in Rafi’s place to act as collateral for a dangerous deal. Everyone thinks she’s her sister – but Col, the son of a rival leader, is starting to get close enough to tell the difference. As the stakes grow higher and higher, Frey must decide whether she can trust him – or anyone in her life.
(416 pages)

Okay, is this not just the coolest premise ever? I used to desperately wish I were an identical twin because I wanted to trick people by trading places with my sister. In Imposters, this idea is taken to the ultimate extreme and we get to explore the consequences on the "bodyguard" sister's psyche.

Before I go any further, I should mention that though this book is the first Scott Westerfield novel I've ever read, it's actually the fifth book in the Uglies series. I have no idea what might be spoilers for the first four books, so please proceed with caution if you're afraid of spoilers.

Anyway, with that out of the way, I have to say that I find the worldbuilding fascinating. It seems that the main characters in the original Uglies books won some sort of fight against a dystopian government, which was seen as a triumph at the time, but now in Imposters we see how a triumph of good didn't magically fix everyone's problems: men like Frey's father leapt into the power void and molded the leftover society any way they chose. It's cool to see how varied the cities are, depending on what sort of family rules over them.

Frey's story itself is a cool one, as I touched upon in my opening paragraph, and I loved watching her explore the world outside her secluded warrior upbringing. Her relationship with her sister is the most important thing in the world to her, but she is suddenly thrust into a world full of other people to interact with. I wasn't a huge fan of her relationship with Col at first, since it felt kind of forced, but they grew on me over time.

My main gripe with the book is that while it's pretty violent (I definitely wouldn't recommend it for younger or sensitive readers), the plot meanders a bit. There's a fair amount of wandering around, when the characters don't know exactly what's going on. There are also some groups of characters who are presented like I'm already supposed to know about them, but I don't–holdovers from the earlier books, I suppose.

All in all, though, it was a grabbing read that kept me turning the pages. And that ending was killer! I can't wait for the next book now.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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