Series: The Sophisticates
Author: Christine Manzari
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Release Date: August 9th, 2013
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars! (I am rounding down to 3 stars on goodreads and netgalley, btw.)
Characters: 4/5 Stars! I loved the characters and they were probably what was focused on the most in this book. I only take of half of a point because I think the there were a couple of background characters that came up that could have used more of a presence in the book like the “mean girls” other than Quinnie. I also wish the professors and other important members of the program had more of a presence. This program is supposed to be really strict and intrusive but I didn’t get that feeling.
Setting: 3/5 Stars! I am giving the setting only a 3 because this is supposed to be in an America that has changed after a horrific terrorist attack but aside from a short description of washington, D.C we don’t really know what the rest of America looks like. Also, what about the rest of the world? Were they changed by Wormwood? Was it just America and the rest of the world lives on like normal? It is almost as if the world doesn’t exist outside of the sophisticates universities and the one baseball stadium. I don’t believe we got much of a setting.
Plot: 3/5 Stars! Plot also got a small rating for many reasons. First, Wormwood seemed like just an excuse to have genetically modified children being accepted. There wasn’t much to it and it wasn’t elaborated on much. We hear about it a couple times before we finally find out a terrorist org poisons the water in many US cities. The sophisticates program was made as a response to that. That is all we find out. How did this program get approved? What does the rest of the world (that we assume wasn’t affected by Wormwood) think of genetically modified humans and soldiers in America. There are just so many questions that it bothered me. The second reason this was rated low was because the book was mostly just Cleo in school, and learning about the Deviant group. She doesn’t learn much though, there is still a lot of information left out. There isn’t even a real villain until we almost get to 90% of the book. The reason it didnt get rated lower is because I personally don’t mind a slow boring story, I liked following the characters through school and friendship and exploring their deviation but nothing really happens until 90% way through the book and then the action isn’t even that exciting.
Relationships: 4/5 Stars! Because there wasn’t much story, there was a lot of room devoted to friendships and relationships and rivalries. I like Cleo and Ozzy, a lot. I have no idea whats going on with Arabella and Sterling though, I don’t think i ship that and I didn’t think there was any real romance vibe to them despite Cleo kind of alluding to that. It seemed a bit forced.
Cover (Not factored into final rating): 4/5 Stars! Not my favorite style but I like that all the rest of the books in the series match so they’d look cohesive on a bookshelf.
Being a Sophisticate of the Program seems like it’d be a pretty sweet deal: a little genetic alteration and anyone can be smarter, faster, and stronger. It’s a dream come true. All you have to give up is your freedom.
Cleo is a Sophisticate and she has a bright future in the Program. But she has a secret. When she gets upset, bad things happen. Explosive things. Things she can’t control.
When her secret is discovered, she’s sent to the Academy to train in the military branch of the Program. She’s destined to be a human weapon in the war that’s been going on since Wormwood occurred nearly 30 years ago. She soon learns that although her ability is unique, there are others like her — other Sophisticates with lethal skills and odd code names like Archerfish and Mimic Octopus.
Immersed in a dangerous game of supernatural powers and dubious motives, Cleo doesn’t know who to trust. Ozzy, the annoyingly attractive cadet who has perfect aim in weapons class and deviant lips behind closed doors, begs her not to use her powers. He’s the golden boy of the Program, but can she trust him? Or will she find herself a target, caught in his crosshairs?
Like it? Love it? Hate it?
It was alright. It wasn’t anything really special and I am not quite sure I will continue reading the series. If I do continue reading it will be for Cleo and Ozzy smooching more hopefully in the future.
The story really lacked action and the small parts that were supposed to be action scenes weren’t that exciting.
There is hope that the sequel will be better now that the villain had been introduced but the first book is going to be pretty dry. For most people, a cliche teen relationship and a lot of friendship is going to carry the story for most people. It wasn’t bad but it also isn’t something that I would switch out anything on my current tbr with.
Should you read it? If you need a simple read and have amazon unlimited or $1 to spend on the kindle book, I would say go for it and see if you want to continue with the rest of the series (where i am hoping the real action is). I wouldn’t suggest paying $16 for the paperback. (SIXTEEN DOLLARS FOR A PAPERBACK? WTF?! )
My shortened Netgalley/Goodreads Review:
While I loved the characters and watching their friendships, that’s really all there was. We don’t really get an understanding of the Program, how it got started after Wormwood or how it works once the students graduate and become adults. It felt like there was a lot of world-building (or explaining) was missing. It also lacked action. Aside from some slight super-powered bullying by Quinnie, there weren’t many action scenes. No real villain until 90% and the reveal and subsequent action scene lacked excitement. Maybe the second and third book have much more action but I am not sure I want to continue the series. It wasn’t bad just a bit boring.
I feel so bad not liking this book! I didn’t so much dislike it as enjoyed it despite also realizing it was boring. Have you ever had that kind of problem with a book?
Let me know in the comments! I wan’t to know if i’m just weird for enjoying a boring book.
Thanks for reading!