This is a New Adult Dystopian novel.
Book Cover: 4* - All righty so a book with this kind of cover never really grabs my interest, especially right off the bat. If I saw this book in a store, facing me on a shelf, I would just keep passing it until one day I'm eventually curious enough to find out what it's about, BUT, but, but, but, I will HIGHLY admire the symbols on the cover. Both the iris flower and triangle is the symbol of the religion in the society that we are following in this book. Heck, the city above where the protagonist lives in is literally called Iris. The Prophet(A antagonist) seems obsessed with the flower and this symbol and I look forward to finding out why when the series continues. I know quite a lot of Dystopian novels, YA especially, go with a symbol that is important to the book and/or series as a whole, but I think this book made it work a heck of a lot better than many of the ones I've seen and read.
Summary: 5* - Their is 2 parts of the summary, one in the back that is the protagonist talking to you, and I love it. It hooked me immediately when I saw the character has absolutely no memory of herself, who she is, nor what she was, and that she was forced to make a choice that could either doom her or put her on a leash. She may have chosen a leash but she also seems determined to uncover what the heck happened and to finally break free. The second is within the dusk jacket, that goes more into what the book will be about. It has been over 2 decades since the virus Lethe befell mankind and from all that chaos rose Iris, the only city, supposedly, with the cure to the virus. The protagonist was forced to forgo her rights for the cure, to be seen as nothing but a resource to Iris, nothing more. Although she and many others have no name, no rights, no way to live as proper human beings, she is willing to fight to save the friends she has made, but what else is she willing to do for that freedom? This is just a really brief summary version of the second summary but I was still hooked as I wanted to see what kind of society this was compared to some of the other Dystopian novels I've made, so far VERY different.
Characters: 5* - I'm sure some of you are wondering why I haven't included the protagonist's name yet, that's because that is what this section is for lol. I. LOVE. ALL THE CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK! With the exceptions of the antagonists, I'm sure I was never meant to like them lol. To be honest, I really don't have a character I hate/dislike on the protagonist's side. First off the character we follow in this book is named 736, yes, that is her name, and this society she lives in wants to make sure she is nothing but a number. She is a strong yet damaged individual. She may have scars about her body but she has claws and fangs of her own that she is not afraid to use AND a level head. She is not confused when s*** hits the fan, she will try and quickly think of an idea if it will help her out of jam along with her friends. She even has an amazing cast of friends that are almost as damaged as she is. 1633 is just a really sweet guy who cares for 736 even though she accidentally caused him pain and anguish from an incident years ago. Regardless of what she did, he doesn't hate her at all but does feel upset when 736 puts him above all else, including herself. Also no they don't have a romance, this is more of a friendship relationship and 736 feeling highly responsible for what happened to him. Then we have Arson, oh my GOD! I love this guy lmao. He is funny, witty, a bit on the crazy side because he is obsessed with fire, ANYTHING, involving fire. In case you are wondering, Arson is a name he gave himself, his true name from the city of Iris above them has been purposely forgotten, and his number I forgot myself because I prefer the name Arson lmao. There is also 93 and his girlfriend Rose, 93 gave her that name. They are . . . the epitome of a ooey gooey romance lol. They love each other, and 93 would do anything to safeguard Rose's safety, and 736 knows this as she loved them both romantically but 93 and Rose didn't reciprocate the same feelings back. Then there is the love interest Jason. *Sigh* What can I say about my lovable, witty, corny, rebel lmao. He's just all sorts of caring and patient with also a really good head on his shoulders. There are more characters but I don't want this section to go on for too long, just know that I like/love many of them lol. Now . . . there are a bit of an antagonist thing going on but I'm worried one will be a spoiler so I will leave them out. The Prophet is one such antagonist, a man who apparently foresaw the coming of a virus that wiped the memories of all who came in contact with it, regressing them back as violent, rabid people that literally can't tell the different between friend and foe. He created the protected society of Iris, chosen people meant to repopulate the planet in a VERY specific image. He may love diversity, but physical imperfections is one flaw he will not stand and will have your body harvested to be used in a different manner. This is also the same man who created the Division section beneath Iris, people meant to serve Iris in again, VERY specific ways. Technology, cleaning, scavenging, sex working, you name it, there are 7 Divisions dedicated to specific work only. Then we have the new Captain that . . . I wouldn't say in charge but she definitely makes sure the Division people do what they need to do . . . this woman is out for blood, that is all I can say.
World Building: 5* - Wow . . . Just wow. I can tell some real effort got put into this world. Although we still reside in the US, all traces of what it was is gone because of the Lethe virus, the same virus that infected millions into forgetting who and what they are but books from the previous society still remain so not all is forgotten, if you are able to adventure out into Depraved infected land. Depraved are those infected with the virus. They run around using the basic of instincts, eat, and sleep. Traces of what they are, are able to break through but unless given a cure, they will attack suddenly without warning. We also get a look at some of the Division sections and what many of them do, some more briefly than others, AND a look at Iris. Those in the Division section are not allowed in Iris, no matter what as they are not the Prophet's chosen people to repopulate the planet. This society hasn't been around for long, it has been over a decade or two but to 736, the day is just not clear to them as those in the Division section are meant for specific things, they have no name, they have no real life, they aren't even seen as people. Some Overseer soldiers that watch over them, making sure they don't break any rules and such can be nice, but there are those that won't hold back their disgust of you for being a Division person. Sadly because of Iris's control over the Division people, A LOT of information is of course withheld for control purposes, even from the citizens of Iris, and 736 learns that from Jason, her outside rebel friend from Haven. There is so much more to say but I think I'm going to stop here for now lol.
Story: 5* - Okay, so . . . I had quite the roller coaster reading this book. I laughed, I smiled, I got angry, and I cried like a baby. Learning of 736 and learning about the world she lives in was riveting, I literally struggled putting this book down as I had adulting to do lol. The main character is strong but damaged and highly afraid to show her vulnerable side to . . . anyone really, even her best friends. She and many others like her have gone through and are still going through quite the traumatic life. Although she hates the city of Iris and the people that live in it, she is forced to admit that they saved her life from the virus and the crippling fall of old society. It was heartbreaking reading what she and many characters had to go through, but inspiring to see that they are using their s***** life to make something of themselves, to keep fighting, to keep hoping for a better tomorrow, and that to me was just . . . amazing. Now, this book is not without its graphical side as there is characters with a drug addiction issue, many characters that have been assaulted physically and sexually, 736 herself, and the ending, OMG that ending. I've never been destroyed by a book before, and I mean it. I cried so hard, so many good characters lost, and UGH! I'm just going to stop here because I feel like crying again lol.
Over All: 5* - Over all I'm giving this book 5 stars. I would happily give this book more if I was allowed to lol. I went through quite the emotional roller coaster, and the writing is just beautiful in my opinion, the author really knows how to use her words. I also like/love every character we meet, from 736 to Seth(a minor but hugely kind character). I. AM. LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SECOND BOOK RED RIVER! Seriously, I want that book, in my hands, like, RIGHT NOW! I'm kind of in reading limbo right now lol, don't mean to gush but I love this book that much. If you want to give this book a try, the first 5 chapters are up on the author's website. Go check it out to see if it is right up your alley.