Author: Margaret Stohl
Series: Icons #1
Doloria can still remember the day her family died. The day everyone died, in her city. In thirteen of the most populated cities around the globe. The day the Icons took over and humanity was reduced to slavery. 6/6.
But out in the Grass, in the old mission with Padre and the others, Doloria doesn’t have to think so much about those things. Even if her way of life is a fragile thing, because both the aliens and the humans who have been allowed to live in their cities have a vested interest in tearing them down. When the mission comes under attack, Doloria will discover far more than she ever wanted to know about the Icons, about her world, about herself.
Having just read another book with a very similar premise, I had to rate this one higher for being much better written, even though I didn’t really care for the tone (depressing, oppressive societies aren’t my thing at all). The book is told mostly from Doloria’s perspective, with snippets of memos and posters showcasing various other things in the world. Doloria can sense the thoughts and feelings of those around her, and tends to get overwhelmed by the bleakness of the world and the struggles she encounters. That said, the book continually pushes forward through the despair to find hope. The ending in particular manages to both raise the threat level and showcase an unimaginable victory.
I did like the worldbuilding. I liked how the fallout of the invasion is experienced, and how it is in some ways completely foreign to Doloria even though she’s living it, because she’s not where most of the people are. I liked the unusual powers in Doloria and the others, and how they unfold, and how the aliens are very alien, right up through the end (with one gigantic hint that the thing everyone believes is nefarious probably has an even worse purpose than suspected). And the alien tech was very cool.
I was a bit annoyed by Lucas. Well, by Lucas and by Doloria’s propensity to believe the best of him despite him repeatedly doing things that betrays her trust. He’s conflicted, sure. But he also seems like worse news than Ro, despite Ro’s temper (though I do appreciate that Doloria sees Ro as way more a friend than a potential love interest). Doloria, Ro, Lucas, and Tima aren’t going to be a team for a long time, if ever; their personalities and desires clash so badly. I did like seeing Tima warm up some and even reach for the more important goals at the expense of her desires (which is more than you can usually say about Lucas… he tries to play both sides for so long it’s aggravating).
Overall I don’t know that I’ll go on in the series, but this was a fairly solid read. It would probably resonate a lot better with fans of dystopia and apocalypse scenarios. I rate this book Recommended if the whole oppressive society angle appeals to you.