In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.
Sudasa doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Kiran’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.
This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.
I received this book as an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
This is an Indian dystopian! If that doesn't sell you on this one, I don't know what else will.. I must say, the Indian culture wasn't much explained in this book, so if you have no clue about India, I think you should make a quick research about it, but I think you'll understand the terms in this book.. The amma is the mother, the appa is the dad. This is pretty much what you need to know - that confused most people - before getting into this book. At first, I was confused by the whole prose/verse alternating POVs and I was like.. I need to read the synopsis. And so I did and I understood that Sudasa's POV is in verse while Kiran's POV is in prose. Keep in mind that Kiran's name wasn't even mentioned until by the end of this book, which irritated me.
I really admired the feminism aspect, but I hated how women were having the upper hand in everything which depicts our views as feminists. People don't understand that we don't want to be in control, we want gender equality which defines as both men and women having equal rights. I think Holly portrayed that perfectly and how she went against her beliefs to create cruelty towards men instead of towards females to stress on the views on feminism and equality. She did that through extreme eloquence, while using simple and non-complex words. I looved her writing style and I definitely will be picking up books by her in the future.
The characters were admirable. Sudasa reminded me of Lena from Delirium and Kiran of Alex, which was my favorite dystopian BOOK (not series) and probably somehow still is one of my faves. This - at least to me - is Delirium meets The Hunger Games. I loved how Sudasa insisted on doing the right thing and was sticking up for herself and defying her Nani (her grandma).
The community and how everything worked bewildered me. Coming from a feminist, I hated how men were being treated and I wanted to slap the women of the society. Men shouldn't be below women and that's not how this should work. I admire Holly for changing up the usual "females are inferior to males" due to a lower birth rate of females.
I was confused at first, as I mentioned earlier, I didn't get the changing of POVs thing, but that was definitely on me. Strangely enough, I haven't read any books in verse before and this was amazing! I love how short sentences (verses) carry much greater meanings behind them.
Now onto the characters... Sudasa's parents were extremely admirable, they held onto each other despite the consequences and they pushed Sudasa into doing the right thing and where supportive of her the whole time. She was a strong character and she did whatever her little heart desired. Kiran's Appa was my favorite. His sayings were to live by and I really respected him as a person and his broad mind was inspiring. Kiran, I was in love with. He did everything he could and he kept his head clear of everything until something else came in his way, but it was admirable still.
Overall, I gave this book 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars. It was original, I loved the characters and the writing style was beautiful. This alone makes a good book, add to that an awesome plot line - of course. And the cover.. oh man the cover is GORGEOUS!!!
Have an amazing day everyone!