Ever see the movie Surrogates with Bruce Willis? If not, here’s the general idea: “Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates.” Interesting, right? Well, if you liked it, or think you’ll like it, then you’ll love Starters by Lissa Price. She takes the idea of living through a robot and one ups it, leaving you on the edge of your seat through the entire novel.
Starters takes place in the future America. After the Spore War is over, there are only two types of people are left; Starters and Enders. The lives of everyone younger than twenty and older than sixty were saved by a vaccination. Everyone else was wiped out by a genocide spore. In the new world, Enders are the ones in charge. Of everything.
One of the most interesting things about Starters is the life span the people live. It’s not uncommon to live to 100 or 150 and still be in good health. There’s even mention of someone living to 200! But good heath doesn’t always mean good strength or shape. Wanting to prologue their youth—and make a ton of money—a man known as the Old Man started a company call Prime Destinations. Or, as the Starters call it, the Body Bank. A place where Starters go and donate their body for an Ender to use. They in turn get paid a pretty penny.
The story follows Callie—a sixteen-year-old girl near Beverly Hills, California—whose goal is to take care of herself and her sickly younger brother. Living on the streets isn’t cutting it and she’s determined to make a better life for them. To do so, she decides to try renting her body to an Ender. Only it doesn’t turn out how she expected when she wakes up in the middle of her rental period. Now she has to find out why before someone else figures out she’s really herself and not an Ender using her body. There’s also the matter of a pesky voice she keeps hearing it, and if she should trust it or not.
I loved pretty much everything about this book. The one thing I did have a problem with was the love triangle of sorts. I’m not a fan of love triangles (I’m Team Edward, Peeta and Fade and to me, those other boys don’t exist). But this isn’t the typical love triangle. You start to care for the first boy, Michael, who’s with Callie from the start. He’s sweet and carrying and helps Callie look after her sick younger brother. What more could you want? Then when she’s dropped into the world of the body bank, she meets another boy. He’s charming, but there’s something not quite right about him. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but once it was revealed, I was left…stunned. And a little put off. I can’t say more, but you’ll have to read it to see what I mean.
It’s no secret that I’m a SF junkie. And this book was the perfect food for my addiction. It’s fast paced, well written and very imaginative. I never had to stop and think about what was going and I never questioned if this life was possible or not. It sucked me in from page one and didn’t let go until I finished. Lissa has created an incredible world in Starters and I can’t wait to see what happens next in Enders.
Also be sure to check out Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story, Starters #0.5.