A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace - sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals - are raised together in small, isolated schools called Preceptures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.
Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Precepture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace, even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive.
Enter Elián Palnik, the Precepture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Precepture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages.
What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?
Publishes in US: September 22nd 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: ya dystopia
Source: mail from simon and schuster
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free.
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I was glad to get this in the mail because the idea of holding royalty/leadership's kids hostage to prevent war is a pretty compelling premise. I wanted to find out the general of how a society could end up there, and how this group of up and coming leaders bonded, but also were always on the brink of death.
I liked Greta, the main character. She is a good blend of smart, cautious, funny, sympathetic and tough. She's accepted the way of life, caring for animals and basically farm work along with lessons, all controlled by robots/AI (artificial intelligence). She has bonded with the group of royalty that is at the school/Precepture with her, but she's never gotten too close or involved with the guys. But when spirited, defiant, and different Elian shows up, things begin to change, and she begins listening and pondering some of the issues he talks about and how he bucks the authority of the AI even when it causes him physical harm.
I was so immersed in the story. Even though it dealt a lot with politics which usually goes right over my head, it mostly was a lot of character development. Greta realized so much about herself and the others she grew up with. She has really hard choices to make as well, dealing with the AI, the things she knows, and whether to help and protect Elian.
I was shocked more than once at the plot twists. There was one thing that I didn't really see coming, and I am not sure how I feel about it. Things were wrapped up with the immediate plot but I hope that there is another one, because I am not sure what the choices mean for the future, and for her as a person who meant so much to the others. The things that I have read though indicate it is a stand alone so that takes my rating down because I was left confused about a few things, like the layers, as well as what peace might exist or not.
The romance also surprised me, I thought that it was going one way but went another, so it wasn't precisely a triangle, it just wasn't going with the obvious at first option at least to me.
There were some humorous moments, and I liked the theme of loyalty, friendship and duty. Talis, the writer of the prologue and the one who set up the current political situation with the hostages, actually amused me rather than feeling villianesque. I understand why could be hated, but its an AI, and he accomplished his purpose.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Could you start war for water if it meant hostages would die.