By: Sarah Noffke
Narrated by: Elizabeth Klett
GoodReads Summary: In the happy, clean community of Austin Valley, everything appears to be perfect. Seventeen-year-old Em Fuller, however, fears something is askew. Em is one of the new generation of Dream Travelers. For some reason, the gods have not seen fit to gift all of them with their expected special abilities.
Em is a Defect—one of the unfortunate Dream Travelers not gifted with a psychic power. Desperate to do whatever it takes to earn her gift, she endures painful daily injections along with commands from her overbearing, loveless father. One of the few bright spots in her life is the return of a friend she had thought dead—but with his return comes the knowledge of a shocking, unforgivable truth. The society Em thought was protecting her has actually been betraying her, but she has no idea how to break away from its authority without hurting everyone she loves.
(I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.)
Defects is one of those stories that struck me randomly with the harsh way humans can have with each other. Of course, all through the story, I kept thinking of my other forays into utopias and dystopias. After reading, analyzing and comparing a ton of them in lit classes through the years, I’ve already decided that for a utopia to work there are some integral variables that must exist.
One, the population has to be small and controllable.
Two, humans have to lose part or all of their humanity to function.
Three, there has to be one or more rulers both callous enough and human enough to control the populace.
If one or more of these variables is tentative, humanity leaks out and infects one or more of the populace and they seem to “wake up” to the injustice of their world.
There is always at least one. Utopias, by definition, cannot work. Of course, because of that writers have a canvas with the barest of outlines with which to begin.
Defects has a small population, a controllable population, the rulers with the right personality type and the ability of those rulers to sap part of the population’s humanity from them. The ingredients are just right.
Em just happens to be one for whom conformity is an ill-fitting garment. Sure, nurture has given her the ability to fit in, but for Em, that’s just the ability to avoid punishment.
Her parents’ treatment of their children and, in fact, any other human without social power is simply hard to believe. My only justification for it is the society in which they find themselves. They’ve been bred to think the way they do, not necessarily by their ancestors, but by the social norms they embrace.
Even in this brief glimpse into the world of the Reverians, I can see the political evolution that led to the thinking that anyone not a Reverian is inferior. But the Reverians themselves are just sheeple, following the leader without question. There must be something in the water.
As we can see, I can analyze and compare the crap out of this story, which means to me that it is one where the world is complete enough to do so. I’m still thinking of the characters and injustice and yelling exact instructions at Em in the final scenes.
The one thing I do want to pick on is the romance. It comes just shy of completely unbelievable. This means I have actually to think about Em and Rogue’s history to make it work. I do think one of two things is possible here. One, I really cannot remember what it was like to be under twenty and full of such passionate emotions. Or, two, it is possible to make a conscious decision to make the comfortable feelings of friendship be love. Personally, I thought it was an organic, uncontrollable thing. But that may be just me.
Anyhow, Rogue is my favorite character. Zach is a close second. I just can’t get a read on him. That drives me crazy.
I have heard Elizabeth Kett narrate before in Sarah Noffke’s Awoken (The Lucidites Book 1). Yet what kind of bugged me about her voice then, seemed to enhance the story here. Maybe was just meant to be Em and not Roya. Or maybe, she’s just getting better at what she does. If that’s the case, I can’t wait to hear what she does next.
So, if you’re into YA, utopias, and romance, definitely check this out. Written gads better than some other bestselling YA books out there (which I refuse to name and give them any type of free advertising), Defects is one I wouldn’t mind recommending to anyone of any age.