Published by St. Martin's Press on 8/7/2012
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Science-fiction, Young Adult
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In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.
When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.
As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.
Roughly 300 years in the future, humanity has “evolved” into Humanity Sublime, a peaceful, subordinate, working-class collective that exists….to exist. Previously mankind ravaged each other and discovered humanity was – imperfect. Humanity Sublime becomes the solution, each citizen living with a V-chip embedded in their spinal column at the base of their neck to dim down emotions, thoughts, feelings and everything else that could make a person feel. I liked what I thought would be the premise of the book. Marketed as another YA/SFF/Dystopia, GLITCH sounded promising. Some of the story reminded me of The Giver: humans only see in black & white (with the exception of the glitchers in GLITCH), and Zoe is startled to discover color for the first time, much like the protagonist in The Giver. It also reminded me a little of Under the Never Sky: Humanity Sublime lives underground, much like they did in Under the Never Sky, having been taught that the outside is a barren wasteland. Both societies are completely dependent on technology. That’s pretty much where the similarities ended though. I’m telling you all this because I want you to understand how much I expected to like this book. I loved The Giver and Under the Never Sky. I consider both to be greats in the Young Adult/Science-Fiction/Dystopian genres; they rocked my world. So why didn’t GLITCH? It focused too much on the romantic relationship between the characters and not enough on the world around them. The love-triangle borders on disturbing. Zoe is unsure of her feelings for Max, who displays psychotic, possessive tendencies, yet she caves to him all the time. Hey, I get it: she’s new to this whole touchy-feely thing, but I can’t suspend reality enough to believe a main character in a novel like this is going to put up with someone who is verbally abusive, demanding and extremely pushy. Adrien, for all his charm and integrity, lacks any real depth. I would liked to have gotten to know him better, but I feel as if the author barely scratched the surface with him. Put the three of them together and you get an awkward triangle that doesn’t work because none of the characters fit together all that incredibly well. Speaking of Zoe’s being new to emotions: the book confused me a lot. It’s told in the first person, so she’s describing how she’s feeling. But….how exactly does she know how she’s feeling if she’s never felt that way before? The author bounced back and forth between Zoe’s frustration in not understanding (or being able to name) her emotions, to describing exactly how she is feeling in a given moment. I often stopped reading to say, “Wait, how does she know that’s what that emotion is called?” This novel would have been better served in the third person, rather than the first, to address those issues. Zoe also struck me as incredibly obtuse throughout the entire novel. I wanted to give her a free pass, but how many times can the really obvious be practically pointed out to you while you continue to make the same mistakes? The plot becomes increasingly awkward as well. As I said before, it focuses too much on the romance/love triangle and not enough on the world-building. I think if Anastasiu had focused more on the world she began to build, it could have been a much better novel. As it stands, this reader felt like the world only existed to support a weird and uncomfortable romance. And what initially starts out intriguing ends in a terrible “WTF” kind of moment, with a strange twist that doesn’t make much sense, but stinks of a slight The Hunger Games rip-off a ‘la President Coin of District 13, and Max making a very un-Max-like decision that left me scratching my head. The only reason I finished it is because I was positive it had to get better. It didn’t. I wouldn’t recommend it to any of my friends. I will, however, say that there are many others who did enjoy it, so maybe it’s something you should just read for yourself.
Disclaimers: This ebook was provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review. Blurb and photo source courtesy of Goodreads.