Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: The Rules by Stacey Kade

The Rules
Stacey Kade
Series:Project Paper Doll #1
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publication date: April 23rd 2013
by Disney-Hyperion

1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don’t get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…
-A copy was provided by Disney-Hyperion for review-
Meet Ariane: the alien hybrid that shares a similarity with my dear beloved friend, Carrie (yes, the evil one!). This is one heck of a fun book. Having been raised in a lab her whole life, Ariane now has to live among humans… in high school--how horrifying! Instead of concentrating on the alien conspiracies or sci-fi aspect, The Rules involves mostly a lot of high school drama where Ariane is trying hard to stay invisible, but a certain… she person… is making this incredibly hard. After digesting this book I think it will all depend on what you're expecting from it. Some of the Goodreads tags at the moment include Sci-fi, Dystopian, Fantasy, Alien, Romance. At once it's all, and none, of those things. If I had to tag it, I'd say it's best described as a high school paranormal novel. No matter, here is what you will be getting from reading it:

-- A mostly character oriented plot that does not really have that much sci-fi to it. Sure she's an alien hybrid and we do begin the novel in the lab she's being held in, learning where she was raised and what they made her do, but other than that we're thrown into a high school bully story where Ariane is simply trying to stay off the radar--but the high school Queen B gets in the way. This worked for me because, for one, I wasn't really expecting anything when I went into this book, and for another, high school mean-girl type stories are kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. Who doesn't enjoy seeing a bitch get what she deserves?

-- A semi-strong romantic subplot that is sweet and substantial. Ariane is not supposed to fall in love, nor trust anybody, so we do get a bit of the forbidden fruit kind of romance which I always find engaging. It may not be the most swoon worthy romance I've ever read but it does involve believable emotions, a likeable love interest, and a pacing that makes it possible to see their connection grow.

-- We're treated to two perspectives in this novel: Ariane and Zane. While it remains Ariane's story, it's fun to be able to experience and understand both sides. Zane is an interesting character that surprised me quite a bit by being very different from the type I was expecting. He's genuine and well-intentioned; I appreciated that about him. As for Ariane, overall, she is sweet-natured. She wants to do what's best and protect her friend, but because of her sticky situation she often has to put herself first. It's good to have someone who is loyal, but not all about self-sacrifice--because really that's just realistic. I also liked how she was smart enough to realize that this so-called friend is really not a friend at all.

-- Fast paced, fun, entertaining, but not particularly impressive as far as the complexity of the plot. The issues I did have with this book is not what we do get--the characters are fun, the plot is interesting, and the pacing is just right--it's what we don't get--intel on these aliens, history or world building, believable science, shocking plot happenings (though we do get one fairly good twist). I wanted to know a lot more about the aliens, especially. If you're going to introduce such an intriguing concept, it requires something to back it up: where they came from or the science behind it all for starters. As for the evil corporation behind it all, I was never really intimidated by them, to be honest. What they're trying to accomplish is unclear and I think this decreases their threat. Constantly mentioning a powerful, scary entity doesn't make one so.

The Rules may be technically a sci-fi novel, but its primary focus is on the entertaining factor of a high school contemporary with mild paranormal elements. Nevertheless, It's fast paced and easy to fly through, making it a good read if you're expecting the right story. 

3 Hot Espressos