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Review of ULTRAXENOPIA by M.A. PhippsSee full issue for 2017 04-17
Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible.
These are the rules Wynter Reeves lives by. Her society is a future one similar to the future in the Hunger Games, as far as I can tell, that divides people into zones and controls them with severe rules and government control. Young adults in this society are forced to take a test on their twenty-first birthday to determine what their vocation will be. When Wynter sits for her exam, something terrible happens. She has a vision of what appears to be the end of the world. Worse, members of her oppressive government take notice and collect her, using her as a specimen to study. Under the horrible Dr. Richter, she endures absolutely excruciating torture, seemingly to compel her into using her visionary powers to predict the coming apocalypse. This torture finally unlocks a power in Wynter, allowing her to escape by psychically attacking those kidnapping her. Then she turns to the rebellion, the very people the doctors wanted her to find. There waiting for her is Ezra, the literal man of her dreams. Wynter must use her powers to both keep herself safe and uncover the cause that could bring destruction to their world.
As far as dystopian novels go, this one has all the tropes a reader might hope for: strong female heroine, tough love interest, corrupt government, and impending doom. The author, M.A. Phipps, is adept at creating page-turning conflict that compels readers through the chapters, using cliff-hangers and interesting peril to keep us flipping pages. The problem I kept running into again and again was that the characters and the setting could be anywhere. There is little description nor world building that would make this book unique. The city could be any city. And sadly I felt the same way about Wynter. She could be anyone, with very little personality. She was fine, but bland. The villain was like any evil doctor. The love interest was like any gun-toting resistance tough guy. While the plot was well done and the pacing crisp, I just couldn’t get into the story for lack of connection to the characters. Maybe book two of the series adds some spice to the characters. In the end, I did not find myself compelled to buy the next book, but others might disagree. Kindle Unlimited members can read the books for free and try them out for yourself. Many other reviewers seemed to enjoy the story and went on to buy book two.
The Rating4 Stars (out of 5): Recommended. For the right audience, this book is a great read. It can hold its own against any traditionally published novel in its genre.
The Pros & ConsPros: Believable, Dialogue, Page Turner, Plot, Prose
Cons: Character Developement, Starts slow
The ComparisonsFor readers who liked these books and authors: Divergent, Hunger Games
The LinksUltraxenopia on UBR
The ReviewerReview of ULTRAXENOPIA by M.A. Phipps‘s website.
Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. These are the rules for survival in Wynter Reeves’ world. But when circumstances beyond her control put her in the spotlight, her worst nightmare becomes reality.
Katie French‘s website.