Originally, I wasn’t going to pick up this book. I’ve already had my fill of stories about girls that didn’t know the world they lived in was an elaborate lie the government produced as a method of control. But, after consulting GoodReads, my trusty reviewing companion, I decided that ‘Slated’ had something to prove.
The idea is that teenagers that have done terrible wrongs in their lives are given a clean slate (hence the newly coined verb: to slate) and are ‘reprogrammed’ to no longer feel anger; their emotions controlled by a device with a death grip on their wrist.
Kyla (beautiful name) is the main character so, as we are reminded many times, is different. She can feel anger. She can remember parts of her previous life. She is unhappy to conform to the world the government is trying hard to maintain and is desperate to learn about her past self, and the horrible thing she did to be Slated.
One thing I’ve learnt from novels like this: questioning the government ends in your ultimate termination….or the termination of the government, of life as we know it, of the truth. (These books can be a little melodramatic.)
Generally the pace of the book was very slow. I put this down to it being the first in the series, so a lot of explaining had to be done to build the world, but perhaps 300 pages of miniscule plot was slightly excessive. Kyla doesn’t actually get her ‘mission’ until the final third of the book and though the first two thirds aren’t without purpose they could have been more exciting.
There was a love interest, though like a modern Jane Eyre, Kyla was hung up on the fact that he may have been previously dating another girl that disappeared. The love story felt slightly forced, as if romance is a necessary part of all teen fiction, when in some cases it can only distract from the action.
The last five pages were thrilling, though slightly confusing because the pace of the novel rapidly increased, like Teri Terry was trying to sprint to the finish after she’d saved up her energy at the start of the race.
Dark and sinister in places, ‘Slated’ was a captivating read (when the plot was actually moving forward.) I enjoyed the relationships between Kyla and all other characters; there was so much development below the surface.
Overall, 4 stars.