Thursday, May 24, 2012
Slated by Teri Terry
Slated by Teri Terry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Late in the 21st century, the government, no longer the United Kingdom but Central Coalition, found a new way to deal with criminals. Instead of prisons or even capital punishment, they get a clean slate, or more precisely, they get slated – their memory gets wiped clean and, if they’re underage, they get assigned to a new Mum and Dad, a whole new family they’re supposed to treat as their own. Kyla has been slated nine months ago, and the time has come for her to leave the New London Hospital and go live with her new parents and sister.
The tightly controlled society is run by the Lorders (Law and Order Officers) and it’s normal for people to disappear, be taken away any time, with little or no warning. All slated wear a Levo around their wrists - it is a device that measures their moods and keeps things from getting out of hand. If they feel anything too strongly, their Levo shuts them down and they black out in pain.
As entranced as I was by this story, I did manage to notice some discrepancies. The problem with putting your character in such a challenging situation, or rather state of mind, is that it’s very hard to remain consistent. Kyla doesn’t know very much about the outside world when she leaves the New London Hospital, she even has no idea how to use the car door handle, and yet no one is surprised when she recognizes the sound of gunfire just a few days later. We could probably explain it away easily, with something simple like a movie, but the skeptic in me always assumes the worst.
Also, I love to know a bit more about the background with my dystopias. It’s not enough to just describe the society, I need to know how it came to be. (This pretty much sums up my problems with Divergent). In Slated, some of it was explained towards the end of the book, but it was too little, too late. I hope the sequel will take care of that.
The romance didn’t quite reach me. I liked Kyla and I liked Ben, but I never understood how their relationship happened. Or why. At the beginning, Ben is described as a gorgeous boy every girl in school wants to be with, but he remains uninterested until Kyla shows up. Then, suddenly, he’s all over her, friendly, protective, always there to help. She is, of course, insecure and convinced that he’s dating another girl, even when he starts spending all his free time with her. What makes it bearable is that Slated is not really focused on the romance, it’s focused on Kyla’s recovery, past and new family, all of which was handled perfectly.
Minor issues aside, Terry did a great job with the subject of memory loss. The beginning of Slated reminded me a bit of the beginning of Thyla. But the most interesting part Terry explored is muscle memory. Sometimes, Kyla would just stop thinking about things and start moving instinctively – she discovered a lot if things about her old self that way, her ability to drive just one of them.
Me pointing out a few flaws doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Slated. As far as dystopias go, it was better than most. If you’re a fan of the genre, you won’t want to miss it. If you’re a fan of all things British like I am, you’ll enjoy the British setting and the distinctly British language.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, Hachette Children's Books UK, for review purposes.