SHOW BOOK DETAILS
THE BOOK -Dark Parties
by Sara Grant
This book is not part of a series
First Published in 2011 by PAN (published as 'Neva')
Genre: YA Dystopia
Avg. Rating: 3/5 stars
EDITION I PURCHASED -Paperback, 264 pages
Published in 2011 by Indigo
My Rating: 3/5 stars
THE PLOT -Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...
Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.
To be perfectly honest, I don't even know where to start with this review. There were times where I really liked this novel, and times where I seriously considered putting it down for good. Dark Parties is a book that throws you in at the deep end, giving you no time to have a leisurely float as you explore the world created. Within the first chapter alone, we discover that our heroine, Neva, is planning a revolution, alongside her best friend, Sanna. Though the Protectosphere is mentioned, and is apparently killing everyone inside, nobody really explains what it is until much later in the book... strike one. And then Neva kisses her best friend's boyfriend. Admittedly, she didn't realise it was him, but that one kiss was the catalyst for pretty much all of the events in this novel, including the awkward, unrealistic love square. Strike two.
So, two strikes in the first few pages. It's not looking good, is it? I decided to keep trying, however, and in a lot of ways, I'm glad that I did. This novel had a very interesting premise, and while the execution was... off-kilter at best, there was something about it that kept drawing me back. Neva's story is a perilous one, and despite the focus on the romance being a little too much, I did enjoy discovering the Women's Empowerment Centre and exactly what the government has been up to behind the scenes. Neva's list of The Missing was something that kept cropping up throughout the book, and I was intrigued to discover what was happening to these people. It was pretty sickening in truth, but it made for an interesting twist.
Neva herself was a character whom I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with. Though her bravery and desire to see things through were commendable, her obsession with Braydon kind of grated on me. Unfortunately, their 'relationship' was a little unrealistic and my lack of trust towards Braydon made things even worse. There was something about him that I just didn't like, and while we did find out the truth towards the end of the novel, it was a long trek to figure out exactly who he was.
Overall, Dark Parties wasn't a terrible novel, it was just too short. I think Grant could have done so much more with this book, but as it stands, I thought it felt a little rushed in places. Unfortunately, I also found myself growing bored in the middle. However, it really picked up towards the end, and though I don't think I can recommend it in good faith, it wasn't a complete waste of my time, and for that, I'm glad I stuck with it.