Starters by Lissa Price (Starters #1)

3 Stars

“I’d started with a lie, and now it was just about impossible to untangle it without breaking something.”

NOTE: This is an old review, I just edited and added some things to it

I grabbed this book because the cover was interesting and when I read the jacket summary, I was intrigued, so I bought it. To give you a glimpse of how the book feels like: It’s like Hunger Games meets Surrogates slash Gamer. If you’re familiar with those three, then I guess you’ll have a vague idea on how the theme of the story plays out.

In a gist, sixteen year-old Callie, desperately in need of money, decides to donate her body to Prime Destinations. In the contract, an Ender will use her body thrice, and in return, she will be given an extravagant amount of money as payment. The science of it is that they put a chip inside your brain to somehow control it, and the Ender’s brain (the old person) who wants to use your body will be the one in control. Any reader will immediately know that that isn’t a very good idea. I mean, having something implanted in your brain to control or subdue it never led to anything good. We have a history of fictional works to prove that.

Back to the story, Callie’s chip malfunctions and she somehow regains control of her body while she’s till being “rented” and this is how the main plot begins. I don’t want to tell anymore than I should because I might spoil it for future readers. The pacing was surprisingly fast, which was good for impatient readers like me who are keen on finishing the book in one sitting. Some conflicts were predictable, while some twists were incredibly shocking. There were definitely some “WTF?!” moments.

“Did Cinderella ever consider fessing up to the prince, that night she was enjoying herself in the fancy ball gown? Did she even think of telling him, oh, by the way, Prince, the coach isn’t mine, I’m really a filthy little barefoot servant on borrowed time? No. She took her moment. And then went quietly away after midnight.”

I especially liked Starters’ take on a Dystopian America. I somehow got a feel of how dangerous the setting was, and how much I would not like to live in Callie’s world. It was sad and difficult, it felt like a trap. A world you can’t escape from. Thankfully, it’s fiction and not the real world. But being able to feel that meant that the book was very effective. While taking the journey with Callie, readers will learn to appreciate parents, grandparents, and family… on how important having a parental figure in your life really is—having someone to run to, to take care of you, to comfort you and shelter you away from the dangers of the world. When I imagined myself in Callie’s shoes, I couldn’t fathom it. Not having anyone to love you, to assure you that everything will be alright, was scary. It made me think of the real world today, how many street children are in the same place as Callie’s? More than I can count. And I’m just incredibly thankful that I’m not one of them.

In Starters, nothing is sure. You may be safe today, but tomorrow, you might be alone again. This book is the first installation of a duo logy, followed by Enders.

Starters’ ending was vague but also intriguing. I can’t wait to read “Enders” and have many of my questions answered. Who is the Old Man? Is Callie’s father still alive? Could the Old Man be Callie’s father? But of course I’m not hoping for that, because that would be insanely disgusting (you’ll know why once you read it). What’s the story behind the Spore Wars? What about the Middle-aged people? What is the Old Man really planning? Will the society ever go back to the way it once was, no Starters, no Enders, but people of all ages?

I guess I’ll just have to RAFO.

“I ran my hand through my hair. The whole time, I had thought I was the fraud, the peasant masquerading as a princess. But it was the prince who’d been in disguise. He’d been the ogre all along. In my world, nothing was what it seemed. And I didn’t know if I could ever trust anyone again.”

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