ENDERS by LISSA PRICE
(second in the STARTERS series)
For those of you who need a refresher, in the first book of this series our protagonist Callie agreed to essentially “rent out” her body to rich elderly people eager to experience youth again. I don’t mean rent in a sex trade type of way, but rather in reference to the science fiction technology in this novel that allows someone to experience life through another person’s eyes, even controlling that person’s body. Horrible as it sounds, Callie needed the money to save her sick brother.
Callie may have overthrown one harmful system in the first book, but if she’s trying to make the world a better place her work is far from done. Now that Prime has been disbanded, people are still going around collecting Metals, the new term for anyone who has the chip allowing them to be controlled by another. And it’s not like Callie can just have the chip removed, since it explodes if you try.
This series features that invisible kind of good writing where you don’t even think about the sentences and the words and simply keep reading, reading, reading. Price uses simple, active sentences and avoids much decoration or style in her prose.
In general, this is another fast paced book, chock full of suspense and action, twists and turns. The rapid progression of events combined with easy sentences and short chapters make it a very fast read, too. While plenty of people will love this about the book, I did find the story a little more plot focused than character focused for my taste.
My only other criticism is a bit of spoiler so skip this paragraph if you want. I’ll avoid specifics, but how Callie accomplishes her victory at the end of this novel feels too arbitrary for me. I know this series is much more soft sci fi than hard sci fi, but the technical description of how she does what she does feels closer to fantasy than anything science.
However, I’m pleased to say that the ending leaves this series open for further novels. And Price does have a real knack for writing satisfying endings that resolve all essential plot threads while leaving a few interesting doors open inviting us in for more story. Fingers crossed!