State of Grace began from a very interesting and well thought out world; a sort of hippyish eden where simplistic conversations are offset against days spent swimming in lagoons or hooking up. Of course, every utopia is secretly a dystopia in disguise and it all begins to unravel quickly, eventually ending on a sadly cliched note. But the reading is easy and certainly the false notes are offset by the intriguing concept.
Story: Wren lives in paradise – tropical huts, warm lagoons, and good food. She and her group worship the goddess DOT and thank her daily for their wonderful life. But things are not perfect in paradise; Wren begins to remember things – a time before DOT that shouldn’t be possible (because there was nothing before the creator DOT made them). And the behaviors of her fellow teens – especially one boy who may also be remembering a past life and a natural charismatic leader who is starting to be just a bit too forceful about their hooking up – is becoming a problem to Wren. She just wants the oblivion of DOT and not to have the fear and worry of her ‘unDOTly memories’ becoming evident. Because anything unDOTly must be crushed.
State of Grace is a very different type of dystopian. The characters are highly simplistic and use a fascinating vocabulary that doesn’t include any negatives (e.g., ‘prehappy’ instead of ‘unhappy’). It makes for an interesting and very fast read since there aren’t any metaphysical ramblings going on. The teens swim, eat, maybe pick some fruits, and then hook up at will. On the surface, it certainly feels like the perfect simple life. Of course, that is until a 9 year old boy shows up (who isn’t one of DOT’s creations) and claims to be from outside ‘the compound’. Of course, readers know where the story will go from there.
Fans of boom boom action packed dystopian will likely find passive Wren’s simplistic denials of the obvious frustrating. But really that’s the point. The eventual denouement makes it all clear but many readers may have a hard time getting there through Wren’s passivity and the simplistic society.
Because this is an easy read and it kept me interested, this is a solid 4 star book for me. Where it fell apart at the end was with some leaps of logic and believability issues stemming from a fairly cliche ending. I didn’t buy any of it and so it was rather an anti climatic ending (and one that was very predictable, sadly). Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.