Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: Solid by Shelley Workinger

Book:  Solid by Shelley Workinger
Stand-Alone or Series: Series, Solid #1
Pages: 223
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Purchase A Copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords
Publication Date: July 9th, 2010
How Did I Get This Book: from the author
Description: Eighteen years ago, a rogue Army doctor secretly experimented with a chromosomal drug on unknowing pregnant women. When he was killed not long after the children were born, any knowledge and evidence seemed to die with him - except the living, breathing, human products of his work.

Almost two decades later, the newly self-proclaimed “open-book” military unearths the truth about the experiment, bringing Clio Kaid and the other affected teens to a state-of-the-art, isolated campus where they soon discover that C9x did indeed alter their chromosomes - its mutations presenting as super-human abilities. The military kids, who come from across the nation and all walks of life, come into their own as lighter-than-air ‘athletes’; ‘indies’ as solid as stone walls; teens who can make themselves invisible and others who can blind with their brilliance.

While exploring her own special ability, forging new friendships and embarking on first love, Clio also stumbles onto information indicating that the military may not have been entirely forthcoming with them and that all may not be as it seems…

Solid was a fun read with a rather exciting and unique premise. It is obviously a science fiction story – it’s got the whole “mad scientist” thing going on and is about a group of teens with genetic mutations. But it’s a sci/fi that isn’t overtly science fiction – it will appeal to a wide range of readers who aren’t normally fans of the genre. It’s the sort of book that is wonderful for testing the waters of a new genre because it heavily relies on the characters themselves. While they do have special abilities, the book really focuses more on the relationships, interactions and feelings amongst them, rather than their powers. Workinger roots the majority of the book in reality, which makes it easy for readers to accept and champion the characters.

There is an interesting collection of characters with a major variety of personalities amongst them. Because they vary so much, it allows for a lot of different interactions & plotlines to form. The main group of friends consists of Clio, Jack, Bliss, Garrett and Miranda – although Miranda is a bit of the odd girl out. Like I said before, all of the characters have distinct personalities and they all bring something different and interesting into the mix. Clio is a wonderful character – she is an extremely nice person but she doesn’t let herself get walked on. She stands her ground when needed and protects her friends when necessary. Bliss is shy, caring and loyal. Jack is always the man with a plan and the one who calms everyone down. Garrett is the clown of the group and Miranda… well Miranda isn’t really much of a people person. 

My only real complaint with the book is the length. I just feel like the story was a bit crammed; you didn’t really get a chance to settle into it. Everything is so bing-bang-boom that you have a hard time connecting with it. The ending in particular was extremely rushed. I really would have liked to see it drawn out a bit more. When you discover who the “bad guy” is the reveal, climax and explanation are all just kind of shoved at you – things don’t have a chance to stew properly. 

But, all in all I honestly enjoyed Solid. It was a tremendous series opener and I cannot wait to see where the gang takes things from here! I am a bit skeptical about how Workinger is going to keep all the characters together, I hope that they are all included in the sequel.
Favorite Quotes:
"High school and teenage life were tricky enough to navigate without looking for some random deformity in me to make things even harder"
"...proving he was not just ridiculously cute but also intriguingly literary - a combination much more thrilling than the expected gorgeous face painted on a hallow rock."
"I was briefly tempted to throw out a panic attack of my own to garner some of his valiant reassurance, but I knew I could never believably pull off the damsel in distress bit."
"I couldn't help thinking he'd be a great J. Crew model, but before my thoughts drifted too far to images of him gazing broodingly from a cliff along the rocky coastline, I yanked myself back to the present."
"All I felt was the pull of him - a call to my heart to come out and join him in the mutual center." 
"I am thinking Covert-Op Tuesday should be an inker on our social calendar from now on."
"Bliss flushed like a rescued - and smitten - damsel."
"I tried to do some math - five kids and a middle-aged man against two looney-toons with guns - and found the outcome incalculable."
 "There'd been a lot of talk about trust circles from the counslers brought in to work with us, those looking for signs of PTSD as if we were soldiers returning from war, but this six-sided circle was all any of us needed."


Savannah said...

I loved this book. It had great characters and a great plot. Nice Review!

Anonymous said...

Nice review! I might give this book a try, from a Biologist's point of view! See if I like it! :D

SunTiger said...

I liked the part where she says I could "never believably pull off the damsel in distress bit." LOL. It would certainly require a certain personality to throw a believable tantrum that makes others want to give you what you want. I've never had that sort of presentation or the desire to acquire it, I suppose.

Nice review.

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