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Heather Sunseri's Emerge is a screen worthy narrative focused on life after a devastating worldwide pandemic. This intriguing plot embraces society's current concerns about Ebola, measles and the spread of other illnesses.
Along with a dynamic plot, Sunseri gives us strong, vivid, likable characters. Cricket is so well-developed it is easy to forget she's only eighteen. West is the disillusioned love interest--think of him as the male equivalent of Alice in Wonderland. He slid down the rabbit hole and someone turned the light on for him. It was interesting to see how he developed and changed by the end of the book. Dax and Dylan prove that identical twins do not necessarily have identical personalities. Dax is the hot button side of a love triangle--he reacts before thinking. But, you get the feeling that thinking isn't too high on his list of priorities. Dylan is the calmer side of the pair. But, we don't get a good look at his personality in this book (maybe he'll show up in Book Two). Hats off to Sunseri for creating a great antagonist--Vice President Justin! At no point will you like this man.
Description is handled expertly by Sunseri. New Caelum is a fictional city in a bubble located in close proximity to Biltmore Estates! (Thank you for a great frame of reference.) I pictured the city as a large Habitrail for people--air tight with no real escape route. The details of the settlement outside of New Caelum were superb--think fortified suburb meets Puritan village.
Yes, Sunseri's book is dystopian. And, yes, it's a romance. But, it doesn't read like a stereotypical, formulaic piece of dribble. Instead, it is well-written and thought provoking. What measures would any government take to protect its citizens from a worldwide pandemic? Would only the wealthy do well? Or, would everyone get a fair shot?
I enjoyed Emerge and can't wait for Book Two.
The ending. What can I say about it that isn't an insult to my intelligence? What in the world was that?!? I'm just going to take an injection and boom that's the end? Is this like a cliff hanger or something? Do I care to wait for the next book if I'm going to be left hanging like that?
I should jump back to the convenient return of the MC's memory at some random moment. Or the sudden plot twists from one of the agents of the Antagonist. As if said action was beneficial for the villain's goal. I'm trying not to spoil too much, but I didn't see attempting to kill someone as moving forward. I understand that plans as grand as the villain's more like villains' would need to be adaptable, but the direction in which the plan flexed seemed to me to do more harm than good.
I'm confused about the romantic relationship between the characters. They lack passion. Is this because the book is YA or is this something that is part of the story where the city itself has rules about that sort of thing. If that's the case, what about the actions of the characters who live outside the city? I just feel bad for everyone because their statuses are never really defined. That's kind of not fair to the characters or us readers.
And how about that Shiloh character. If I were interested, I mean truly interested, in reading a possible sequel, I'd like to explore her character. But like I said there's too much in this story that I found unsatisfying. I might borrow someone else's copy instead of investing in it personally. But then that would mean that I'd have to find someone willing to buy it.
I think the story could have been better. I loved the concept, I just didn't like the execution.