Author: Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited #1
Genres: young adult, dystopia, sci-fi, romance
Length: 9 hrs 57 min
Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
My rating: 3.75 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she’s destined to become a murderer.
When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.
Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.
The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.
Uninvited was one of my most anticipated books of 2014 for the following reasons:
1. The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report. I loved Minority Report to pieces and read Scarlet letter in high school so that alone was enough to pique my interest before I even started reading the rest of the blurb.
2. The cover. I have to admit I was one of those people who didn’t immediately notice the DNA strands in the cover models hair, but once I spotted them, that’s all I could focus on. If this is your first time visiting then you don’t know this, but I’m a science major in college (and a total nerd), so books with scientific themes will get me EVERY TIME. Books dealing with illnesses, such as OCD or dementia will get me EVERY TIME. A book involving gene identification? I was completely sold.
Needless to say, I had very high expectations. So what did I get? An imperfect book that annoyed me sometimes, made me angry a lot (that’s not a complaint, this book is supposed to make you angry, especially girls), but a book that is worth reading nonetheless, a book I would recommend very much. And here’s why:
1. Davy Hamilton. I made the unfortunate mistake of skimming through a few very unflattering reviews of this book on goodreads, and the one common complaint they all seemed to agree on was Davy’s character. That she’s naive. That she’s weak. That she always needs to be rescued by the guy. So I went into this book pretty much expecting the worst: a really great concept – one that definitely needs to be written about – is ruined by an awful main character. And in the beginning of the book I was right there with everyone else. But then I kept reading, and slowly started changing my mind. Davy grew up so much in a relatively short time without ever losing sight of herself, and I was totally cheering her on by the end! She gets knocked down several times and learns a few hard lessons along the way but comes such a long way, and I honestly can’t wait to see what comes next for her. This is my definition of character development done extremely well.
Let’s talk about Davy some more. I’ve actually thought a lot about why so many people had issues with her, and I keep coming back to the same thing: it seems like ever since The Hunger Games, when it comes to dystopian heroines, people expect some version of Katniss Everdeen or someone equally badass. Well, guess what? Davy Hamilton is NOT Katniss Everdeen. She isn’t anything like Katniss, and that’s OK. The world of Uninvited isn’t anything like The Hunger Games. Davy is a perfectly normal and very talented high school student who actually focuses on school, and who’s excited to go to college. She doesn’t have to hunt for food in the woods, or provide for her family in any way. And she doesn’t think twice about carriers, until she’s labeled one. Is she naive? Oh God yes (more on that later). But is she weak? NO. Just because she’s not kickass from the very beginning and can’t beat up a guy twice her size, doesn’t make her weak. And yes, she’s saved by Sean more than once, but by the end she learns to hold her own, and that scene with Jackson and company towards the end gave me enormous satisfaction.
2. MURDER IS A BIG DEAL. It’s pretty much the moral center of this book. Characters in dystopian books are often forced to kill in a life or death situation and I feel like that at some point the bodies start piling up and it becomes no big deal, they just keep going. I understand that you do what you have to do to survive (that’s pretty much what the whole genre is all about, right?) but it doesn’t change the fact that taking a life changes you forever, and this book deals with that in a very realistic way.
3. Nature vs. nurture. It’s basically what this book comes down to. If nothing else, the book makes you think HARD about this question. It will also make you angry a LOT. The treatment of the carriers, both by society and each other definitely made me angry a LOT. The treatment of female carriers made me angry TEN TIMES AS MUCH (I generally get homicidal whenever so-called ‘tough’ guys threaten weaker girls with sexual assault just because they can) It’s a fact, that many of the carriers do indeed become murderers. But why? Is it really because of the gene? Does the hostile treatment play a role? Or is it inevitable? Should we give them a chance? This is definitely a topic that needs to be discussed, and this alone makes the book worth a read.
So why not 5 stars if I keep raving so much?
1. Davy turned into a great character, but I still spent much of the first half of the book wanting to smack her. She was naive a lot and for someone who was judged because of her diagnosis, she had no problem judging everyone else. Her ‘my diagnosis is clearly a mistake but everyone else is definitely a murderer’ attitude irritated me to no end.
2. Sean. Sean was by no means a bad love interest, but he didn’t really work for me for some reason. I guess this is one of those subjective things, right? We don’t always ‘feel’ the romance equally. I’ve seen plenty of people who liked him, so don’t write him off on my account.
3. The scientist in me wanted to know more about the HTS gene. Gene identification is a very real thing, but as of 2014 there’s no such thing as the kill gene. The book takes place in 2021, so that means it’s a fairly new discovery, but how? Why? Is this even a real thing? Or did the government make it up for some reason? Or is that just my conspiracy nut brain talking? I’m willing to let this slide for now though, because there’s still room for explanation, but if it remains vague, I’ll be a little disappointed.
I gave this book 3.75 stars (I know it’s a ridiculous number, but there you have it) because I reserve 4 stars for ‘very enjoyable reads’ (see the Rating system section) and for the reasons above this wasn’t quite there. BUT I honestly recommend it, it’s definitely worth a read to make up your own mind.
The audiobook version of this book is great, Rebecca Gibel puts in another excellent performance.