Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Review: The Rules

1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don’t get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…

Creepy cover is creepy.  Especially once you read the book, 'cause that makes the creepy eyes stand out more.  I greatly enjoyed Kade's first three books (The Ghost and the Goth trilogy) though I was a wee bit hesitant to broach this book at first since it sounded a bit...not my cup of tea.  Hybrid human/aliens aren't my normal reading preference especially where young adult reading is concerned(blame some of this on the Roswell tv show and the brooding portrayal of teen wangst in the face of certain death, doom and apocalypse).  However, or in spite of my reservations, I was intensely curious to see where Kade took it all.

Very happy I did.

Like Ghost and the Goth, Kade took a couple concepts and gave them a face-lift.  Small town living, parental legacies (and neglect), popularity and high school social hierarchies all are given a swift punch as Kade explores just what a toll these things can take.  Admittedly some of this was tried and true from the G&G books, but we have far less reason to like Rachel than we did Alona and the stakes are far greater for Ariane than ever they were either Alona or Will.

If you don't read the blurb than the first chapter, told from Ariane's POV (the chapters alternate between hers and Zane, her hm 'reason' to break the rules more or less) then things may feel a bit stuck in the middle of something.  She just barely hints that something is off about herself, but doesn't quite go into detail until a chapter or so later.  Zane meanwhile, who is introduced through Ariane's POV first (and a total jerk), evolves from a guy desperate to do something gain his father's approval to a guy who realizes it not worth losing his soul in the process.

Rachel goes from mean-spirited, to wicked and lands on cruel before making an almost redemptive action (in a ruthless self-serving manner).  The party scene near the end cinches it, but I felt a bit bad for her because like Zane she was desperate to gain the attention of people, but unlike Zane she was happily selling her soul to do so.  Her last scenes with Zane and Ariane can almost be seen as 'Maybe she finally understands' light, but whether or not we see her again is dubious (given the direction of the end).

This next paragraph is a spoiler, so you'll have to highlight it:
Mark Tucker, Ariane's 'father' (or more accurately her rescuer/adoptive father), as seen through Ariane's eyes is a hardworking, meticulous man who while restrictive (for her own good) and demanding cares for her.  Not as much as his real daughter, but still she senses affection from him.  So when it turns out that he was part of the 'new experiment' that the scientists are running for the last ten years it REALLY was a surprise.  Until in hindsight you notice things that she noticed in an absent manner.  I think Kade did a really good job setting clues in the book towards the eventual reveal, even if that hurt like the dickens. [end spoiler]
This was a fast paced, intriguing start to a new scifi series.  Like the G and G series I'm hooked on what seems to be an impossible (or at least really ill-considered, on the part of the characters) romance and I want to see what the truth is for Ariane and how she settles with who (and what) she is.