Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Publication Date: March 13th, 2012
Delacorte Press
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
HER WORLD IS CHANGED FOREVER
Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.
He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .
This was a very befuddling book. The plot, the world, the characters had me at odds with myself. In the end, the book straddled the line of brilliance and unrealized potential. 
It started with a spores war. 
Teens for hire. 
Thrill seeking seniors, er Enders.
Brains for hire, plug-ins, a faceless man intent on taking over the world.
Technology and Science had fallen into the hands of a greedy corporation. 
It’s the perfect recipe for a great read, in my opinion. Sadly, it didn’t deliver. 
The world building in this book lacked a certain cohesiveness necessary to marry the destroyed dystopian world and the rich, lush environment of the wealthy. It was hard to imagine how the Enders had been able to keep up the resources that they have when the world, as they know it, pretty much ended when the spores war began. I still can’t quite understand why the government is dead-set against employment of teens. I mean, if they truly wanted to stop the “unfriendlies” from stealing and wreaking havoc in the city, then, wouldn’t it make sense to employ them? I’m just sayin’. I’m a big fan of dystopian but I’m a bigger fan of logical story lines. 
On the other hand, I think Lissa Price conceptualized a very valiant heroine in Callie. The girl never lost her focus throughout the story. She wasn’t one of those gullible characters who accept things quite easily.   
I loved the relationship between her and her little brother as well the friendships she’s developed in the book. The faceless, evil man was a very credible antagonist. Ms. Price did a wonderful job on giving him that air of malevolence and mystery. 
But honestly though, what kind of world has seniors running around looking for the next thrill? It just seemed too far-fetched to me. And tell me again how in the world were we able to extend their life expectancy up to 150 to 200 years old? Mexico built a wall. Uhm, spores. Airborne. Yep. How does that protect them? Okay, I get that they didn’t want the migration of affected Americans, but again. Spores. Airborne. Senator Bohn. He just came out of nowhere. They needed a political backer so, voila! He appeared at the last few pages of the book. *strokes imaginary beard* How convenient. 
Anyway, I hit the swiss cheese jackpot here, folks. I had more questions than answers. It doesn’t necessarily make me want to read the next book eagerly but I think I’ll read it anyway just to see if all those questions will be answered.  
  • I've heard so many good things about it so far that I'm really happy to read a more critical review now. Thanks a lot for your honesty, Joy! 🙂

    Carina
    Fictional Distraction

  • Jo

    This sounds strange, but interesting. Putting it on my list.