Author: Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub Date: 01/07/14
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I thought the plot was good. The main character is called Alex. Alex and her brother have joined the prince's personal guard. Alex is one of the greatest sword fighters in the army. Part of what drew me to Alex was her fear of being forced into the breading house. The King is in a war with another territory and it has been very taxing on both sides. To make sure there are always soldiers the King forces girls to have babies. Any boy babies are taken to grow up and then join the army. Any girl babies born grow up and then start to make more babies to keep the cycle going. People live in fear of the growing war and it's consequences, along with their fear of their girls being taken to the breading house. I didn't and still don't understand why the people didn't revolt and overthrow the King. How bad do things have to get for you to turn your back on your King and retake your country? Take Alex for example; she saw her parents burned to death right in front of her by what is assumed to be enemy soldiers. Alex is then forced to cut her hair and bind her breasts to stay with her brother and to not join the breading house. One night Alex and her brother are told to bring the new batch of girls into the breading house, where we first come to learn about the living conditions of the girls. What's even more depressing than their horrible living conditions, are the girls that have been there awhile. The girls that have been their awhile have this dead look in their eyes. There is a girl in the group that strikes a little too close to home for Alex. This girl is about five years old and she has a brother ( he's ten years old) who tries to save her from the breading house. The little girl is to live up in the attic with all the other girls until they can have children. Through this book the little girl haunts Alex's thoughts until the plot is wrapped up. Alex's job is to guard a prince that is spoiled, lazy, and has no regard for her safety. Through everything she stays and protects the prince instead of leaving with her brother. The only thing that I would try to change in this book is during the middle of the plot the author decides to exploit Alex's weak spot, which is to be a girl, specifically, the love triangle she's currently stuck in. For me, this lasts entirely too long and has a horrible wrap up.
Memorable or Forgettable: I was memorized by Alex's fighter / survivor instincts. Alex doesn't give up; she buckles down and tries again.
Cover: I picked the book up because I liked the way the cover looked and I wanted to see what it was like to read a book without knowing anything about it.
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation: They came, they conquered, and they burned her parents in front of her. Now to fight for her life she must become a boy or join the breading house.
tags: fantasy / high fantasy / science fiction / magic / adventure / romance / ya lit