May 29, 2014

Review of The Polaris Uprising by Jennifer Ibarra

Release Date: October 20, 2013
Publisher: Tiwala Books
Page Count: 328
Format: Paperback
Genre: YA 
No citizen shall be left behind.
Life in Neress is simple. For nearly four decades, people have known exactly what’s expected of them. Obey the rules, follow the path that’s been laid out, and everything will be provided for: food, shelter, education, safety. No need goes unmet.
But the cost is steep: you lose all rights to make your own choices in life.
In seven years, eighteen-year-old Ryla Jensen will come of age and take over for her father as president of this idyllic nation. Groomed since childhood to take on a role she’s not even sure she wants, Ryla’s only escape from the pressures of duty is her sister, Alanna. But when her eyes are finally opened to the oppressive regime her father built, she begins to question everything she’s set to inherit—and finds herself at odds with her sister’s blind allegiance to their father.
Torn between loyalty to her family and the fight for freedom, Ryla must decide just how far she’s willing to go to make a stand and risk losing the person she loves most in the world: Alanna.
*A copy of this book was given to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review*

I had never heard of The Polaris Uprising before Jennifer Ibarra contacted me on Twitter and asked me to review a copy of it. I was slightly hesitant at first because the description sounded like mainstream dystopian book (as in all the dystopian books that erupted after The Hunger Games and Divergent became popular, they usually all have similar settings and plots) but decided to try it anyway. At first it was pretty slow but as I kept on reading the book it got much better and I started enjoying it more and more. It took me longer than usual to finish The Polaris Uprising because of school but I feel like I was able to understand and enjoy it better because of the longer time it took. If you're worried that The Polaris Uprising sounds like yet another copy of popular dystopian books then take my advice and read it because I guarantee that it's different and better.

The Polaris Uprising takes place in a country named Neress, years after a large war tore the world apart and Ryla Jensen's father managed to end it. It is a country that is split into several different areas with an official, kind of like a governor governing each area. People are given jobs and marriages based on what's their best interest and best genetic match (the people have no say, the government controls it). Ryla and Alanna are both daughters of the president, Ryla will become president when she turns 25 and Alanna is a doctor who is about to marry the son of the Minister of Security. The settings of the book are mainly in the president's home, Alanna's clinic, and various streets and areas in the city. There wasn't anything exceptional about the settings, its not that they were bad its just that I didn't notice anything special about it. Even with the underground tunnels where the rebels hid it reminded me of numerous other books I had read. However, the plot balanced out the settings and stopped me from getting tired of them. With any book even if you have really bad settings or boring ones, when you add a good plot into it it transforms the settings and suddenly it becomes more enjoyable. That's exactly what happened with The Polaris Uprising since it's good plot and its settings mixed together and became more balanced. Overall, the scenes and the settings themselves weren't bad or notably exceptional but just OK.

The characters were where the majority of the book shone through, they were what made me really enjoy The Polaris Uprising. Ryla and Alanna were so different in many areas but yet were also really close sisters, each had her different problems and worries. Ryla was the one who rebelled against her father and joined the rebels, she gave up all the comfort she had had her entire life and her chance at being president to support what she believed in. That's not to say it was easy for her either, she struggled with it and was opposed by her family. Alanna was the one who was against the rebels and tried to stop her younger sister, she was the one who was at ease helping people and not talking to a crowd. I liked Ryla better because she stood up against the government but I guess its not really Alanna's fault, she didn't know the whole story like Ryla did. Owen was another big character in the book and he was the one who married Alanna. After his father died he became Minister of Security and almost right away attacked Ryla (he said he couldn't stop the soldiers but I still felt like he could have done SOMETHING). Therefore he wasn't exactly one of my favorite characters but neither was the president (the president was the worse, he basically used the government to his own needs and hid accidents and mistakes). I wouldn't have minded reading more about the president and Owen as I think both of their backgrounds are interesting (maybe a novella?). There's so much more I want to say about the characters because they were all so amazing and complex, just like real-life people however I also want you to discover them on your own. Even if you don't like the plot or settings of The Polaris Uprising the characters will make up for it, they are all worth reading.

The ending has a small sort of cliffhanger but it's not that big and the sequel comes out I believe in either 2015 or 2016. The Polaris Uprising is perfect for people who like dystopia, YA, and well-written characters.

4/5 - Really good book

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