Callie lives in a world where everyone between the ages of 20 and 60 was killed off in the Spore Wars. The elderly, called the Enders, are mostly evil and selfish, forbidding the young from working and shipping off unclaimed minors to harsh institutions. Worst of all, though, some Enders rent the bodies of young Starters, to enjoy life in a fabulous young body. Callie, desperate to protect her young brother, allows herself to be rented out, only to stumble into the middle of a murder plot and a massive Ender conspiracy.
Starters immediately drew me in and kept me interested through many plot twists and turns. There was plenty of action and quite a bit of mystery as to what was actually going on. However, about halfway through the book, things took a turn for the worse. I don’t know what happened, but it felt like the second half of this book was half-assed. I lost interest in the characters who started to look awfully flimsy and who started acting out of character to fit in with whatever plot twist was occurring at the moment. (For example, one body-renter Callie meets who is ditzy and totally into the novelty of renting suddenly and unconvincingly turns into an ultra-responsible activist against body-rental.) As much as the plot twists made for an interesting story, it also sort of lost me and I’m not sure I could actually explain what happened in this book. It was a really disappointing ending to what started out with a bang.
This world was pretty interesting… especially the tension between the young and old, which is a theme that seems particularly relevant. However, I think that the author’s website, other reviews, and the blurbs do a lot of the world-building work for this book. I am not particularly picky about wanting to know why a world is the way it is (I often think that the characters are left in the dark as to why things are the way they are, so that’s why the readers are, too), but I know that the world-building here would drive more particular people crazy.
Character-wise, Callie wasn’t a terrible lead, but she wasn’t all that spectacular either. The character I really wanted to know was Helena, the Ender who rents out Callie’s body. Also there was a love triangle in here which was pretty inconsequential and the boys were about as one-dimensional as possible. I don’t think these boys are swoon-worthy in the least. So don’t go into this hoping for a fun love story.
This is a hard review to write because I didn’t really hate the book, it really was engrossing and had lots of action and some interesting old vs. young tension. The last half (and my final impression) of the book, though, was so blah, leaning toward negative that it is hard not to remember just the flaws. If you like dystopia, you might enjoy it. But save it for a time in which you are able to easily forgive occasionally faulty character and world development. Oh, I’d also recommend getting it from the library and then deciding if you’d like to buy it. It is definitely not a book everyone will love!
Lucy @ The Reading Date
Maggie @ Gone Pecan
Kate @ Epic Chocolate Fantasy
8 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Halves: Starters by Lissa Price”
awww. . . I guess I’m half happy half sad since you didn’t like the whole thing? Maybe the second book will be better for you?? I hope! ~Maggie
I’m actually pretty curious about the enders and would like to get into their headspace. If the second book does that, I’ll probably read it. All I’ve heard is that it will be called Enders, so who knows? Hopefully, it will pull together a little better than this one, though.
Oooh, I like your “other reviews” section…have you done that before? I haven’t noticed. Super duper nice of you! 🙂 I really wanted to read this since all I’ve seen are rave reviews, but now I’m a little worried…hmmm….to add to the TBR list or not? THAT’s the question.
I do want to say, that if that last comment seems weird…I’ve been sick and med’ed up on Dayquil, tea, Mucinex D, etc…so I plead the 5th on anything out of the ordinary…
I have not posted links to other reviews before, but wanted to start trying… especially when my own thoughts are so vague or negative. Plus, I get most of my book recs from bloggers, so I want to give some recognition for their helpful reviews!
If you see this at the library, try it out. I am not sure if my own mood (which last week was pretty crappy because work was SUPER stressful) made me super critical of the second half of the book or if it really did decline. Other people had fun with it, so maybe I’m the idiot!
P.S. Feel better! And if you’ve never tried those zinc lozenges, I highly highly recommend them. Colds usually hit me hard, but I used those lozenges last time and it was relatively mild!
I’ve been thinking about reading this one (mostly cause I like the cover) – I did finally renew my library subscription so I’ll definitely request it because the premise sounds interesting. Since I have given myself permission to quit books now there’s no pressure.
I hope you like it! I wasn’t disappointed enough to give up with this one though… I had to find out what happened even if I wasn’t happy with it!