Lena’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Published: March 2012
A war has wiped out everyone between the age twenty and sixty in America and the only person left in Callie’s life is her little brother. Living on the streets with other Starters—people under twenty—they try to live with what they got. When Callie hears that there is a way to earn enough money at the Body Bank Prime Destinations to live comfortably, she jumps to the chance and gets hired to rent out her body to Enders, seniors who want to live in a young body again for a while. Everything goes as planned until Callie finds out by accident what her renter is intending to use her body for: murder.
The introduction to the story is slow compared to the rest of the book. In the first three chapters the reader is introduced to the world, the characters and their situation. But following Callie’s decision to rent out her body the pace of the story picks up considerably. The story is told from Callie’s point of view and I found her to be a pleasant kind of protagonist. You know how in YA you sometimes get the overly irrational, whiny and impulsive teenager? Callie is not one of those. She is calm, responsible and clever.
The story is fast paced and ends in one hell of a cliffhanger. The author did not bother with too many details but focused on the plot and pace. What sometimes irritated me was how smooth everything went for Callie: So much could have gone wrong but magically it did not, which I found unrealistic. Anyway, I was too busy racing through this book to really be bothered about it.
The same irritation/confusion sets in when considering the technology of Callie’s world. I was surprised sometimes by how seldom this technologically highly futuristic world actually used its technology to its advantage. Science is advanced enough to implant neuro-chips into peoples’ brains and transfer one person’s consciousness into the body of another, but they fail to scan a car for fugitives? Huh. It seems like neuro-technology is the only technology that is advanced in this world.
These were two points, which slightly bewildered me, but in no way did they impair the pleasure of my reading experience.
What enthralled me were the exchanges between Callie and her murderous renter. It was so fascinating to see Callie get to know and understand more and more about the political workings of this world, its faults, its conspiracies. Because, as was to be expected nothing is like it seems in the beginning. The renter system adds an intriguing aspect: You can never be sure if the person you are talking to is not actually inhabited by someone else’s consciousness and what their true intentions might be.
It’s such a shame that the publisher has delayed the publication of the sequel for the English market. If I wasn’t so reluctant to read the German translation (which is out already) I’d finish this series immediately.