The Body Electric by Beth Revis
Publication Date: October 6, 2014
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
The future world is at peace.
Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.
But not all is at it seems.
Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…
Someone’s altered her memory.
Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn't even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.
So who can she trust?
What I Liked:
This is December's Pili-Pushed novel! To read all of my reviews of books recommended by Pili at In Love With Handmade, browse the "Pili-Pushed" tag of my blog! I've enjoyed the books she's recommended to me so far... to be honest, I expected to love this one, because I love Beth Revis's debut series.
First, let me state that I am a HUGE fan of Beth Revis. I loved her Across the Universe books - Across the Universe was my favorite book of 2011. When I heard about the self-publication of The Body Electric, I was thrilled! A new Revis book! More science fiction! We need more science fiction in the Young Adult age level. However, unfortunately, this book fell flat for me.
Ella's father worked on a revolutionary creation - until he was killed. He was trying to create a human brain, but the problem with that is that you can create it, but you can't force it to think, like humans do. In a world of androids and bots and advanced technology, this creation would be revolutionary. As the government knew. Ella's mother created Reverie, in which one person could delve into another person's mind, while that person was in a dreamlike state. But Ella slowly realizes that something is wrong with her. Her memories are not complete, which she starts to understand when she meets someone from her past, a past that she doesn't remember.
What worked for me: the world-building, for one. I love how Revis constructs and builds the setting of this novel. It's very futuristic, with highly advanced technology, such as androids and robots and clones and things. Ella's parents are obviously scientific geniuses, but the whole planet is full of amazing science.
Revis did a good job of setting up the conflict and mystery. I wondered where she was going with certain things (like the bees, and Ella's hallucinations, and Jack), which is good... except in the end, it didn't really work for me. But initially, I liked the mystery of things.
Read on for things I didn't like... unfortunately, there were a lot of them.
What I Did Not Like:
Blaaahhh. This makes me so sad. I didn't like Ella, I didn't like the science fiction aspect of this book (though the world-building was great), I didn't like the romance, I didn't like the mystery, and I was a bit confused (says the ENGINEERING major... keep in mind, I'm well-versed in things like statics and mechanics and physics and things like that).
I didn't like Ella. From the start, I had a feeling I wouldn't like her. I found her behavior, initially, very childlike, and in the end, she was still not as mature as I would have hoped. I can't put my finger on it, but something about her was so immature and childlike and naive and stupid. This persona dictated her decisions. I don't think she's very tough or smart at all - mostly, she's running and hiding or doing rash, stupid things.
I didn't like the science fiction of the book. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was cool at first... until I realized that not much made sense. It's hard to describe this without spoiling things. But like, the whole cyclone thing doesn't make sense. It's clones don't feel, then, how do, um, certain people, feel? Like, love and comfort and whatnot?
And why is Ella NOW seeing the hallucinations of her father? I'm not entirely sure what the trigger was. Why was she seeing her father NOW? I can *kind of* extrapolate why she's able to see him in general, but I'm not sure of the WHY NOW. Even the WHY is sketchy.
The hallucinations in general - the bees, for example - were not really explained either, as to why they were occurring now. It wasn't too frustrating at first, because I figured it would all be explained later, but as I kept reading I kept getting more frustrated, and I realized that I would get no real answers. And I never did.
I didn't like the romance. I can't say much specifically about it, because that's some serious spoiler-ness, but I didn't like it. I didn't like the introduction, the progression, the backstory, nothing. Ella and the boy just did NOT work for me. I didn't think Ella liked him from the start, so when she magically started dancing to his tune, I wasn't really buying it.
I liked Jack, but I found him to be very one-dimensional. I couldn't relate to him, I didn't find him heroic or swoonworthy or all that great. He just wasn't a developed enough character for me.
I mentioned the mystery of things, as well as my confusion. Well, yeah, I was confused towards the end of this book. I LIKE science fiction. I have a head for it, and usually, I have no problems keeping up. I'm an engineering major - heavy on the math AND science - so it's my LIFE to keep up with these things. But I don't think Revis did the best job with the science. Like, the thing about the cyclones. I can't go into specifics, but if you really think about what Revis was trying to create, it doesn't quite make sense with what she set up in the world.
I didn't like the ending at all. Certain things were revealed, and I was all like, wtf? It felt like such a cop out, the easy way to explain things. Things that weren't even fully explained. The constant use of reveries in the end didn't seem right. The ending, in terms of Ella, and Jack, and Ms. White, and Ella's mother, just didn't sit well with me, and didn't make sense scientifically. Someone write a scientific paper on clones and these "cyclones" and then I'll be more open to the idea of these.
Obviously, a lot of my problems revolved around me not really buying the science of this book. But I also didn't like protagonist (which is a problem) or the love interest (that's really all he was, if so much), or the story.
Would I Recommend It:
Not really. I mean, it's gotten good reviews so far, but I personally didn't like this new book by Revis. Her Across the Universe series is REALLY GOOD though. So. There's that.
2 stars. Meh. I tried, okay? I love Beth Revis, and I'll give any of her books a shot!
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