Genre: YA Dystopian
Publication Date: August 3, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...
Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most. (Summary from Goodreads.com)
A world isolated by the Protectosphere - a dome which protects but also imprisons...
Neva lives in this isolated, dystopic future where people go missing - as if they've simply vanished - and everyone just seems to pretend they never existed. But Neva keeps a list, a list of names, names of all the missing.
I had actually had my eyes on Dark Parties for a while so when it came up for review I was so excited! I mean the cover is just to die for! It's stunning! (Though I don't really know where the big, red dress came from?). And I'm a sucker for dystopian story with a side-plot of romance!
Dark Parties was a typical dystopic novel but still unique in its own way. The opening of the novel really drew me in - it was rebellious, intriguing and sexy - everything a YA plot should be. Within the first few paragraphs I already felt connected with Neva, I felt her fear and her passion; she started off as a strong protagonist and maintained this solidity throughout the novel.
The plot was actually quite simple but seemed more complex due to its characters and the secrets they kept. I did feel as though the plot slowed down slightly in the middle and that it wasn't really going anywhere after such a promising start but it picked up its pace towards the end which resulted with a satisfying finish.
The characterisation has both its strengths and limitations. I thought that the relationships between Neva and her parents and also between Neva and her best friend Sanna were strong and believable, they were well thought-out and evocative. But on the other hand the relationships between Neva, Ethan and Braydon were a different story. This 'love-triangle' was messy and admittedly very sloppy. Ethan didn't really have a set personality, he constantly changed so I struggled to see who he actually was - I thought I knew him at the start but towards the end I was totally confused. Then there's Braydon. The 'instant attraction' wasn't good enough, it wasn't built up well and I just felt like Neva trusted him too easily and liked him too much for it to feel believable. There were no real 'sparks' in the relationships developed in the romance like there were between the friends and family. BUT having said that I still think the romance was a good element of the story.
As a whole I did enjoy this book and I plan on reading the sequel - I'd recommend it to fans of the genre and anyone who's not!