Aletheia takes place in a world ravaged by a disease that takes away memories. The only city known to have a cure is the city of Iris. Citizens of the city are guaranteed a vaccination preventing them from ever getting infected, but those who were unlucky enough to get infected had only one option: to forfeit their life to Iris and live enslaved underground beneath the city. Our main character 736 is one of the nameless who gave up their freedom for the cure. The story follows her as she plans to break out her fellow prisoners and set them all free.
I finished reading this book weeks ago and haven’t gotten around to writing a review until now simply because I had trouble putting my love for this book into words. Now that I’ve had some time to think on it, I’m finally here with a review.
First off, I will say that I had a little bit of trouble getting into this book. The problem being that it’s written in first person present tense. I’m definitely more of a third person past tense kind of girl. I will say, however, that I got used to this writing style really quick. Something about first person present tense makes it feel as if you’re experiencing the story as it happens along side the protagonist. This book has really changed my opinion on the style and has opened me up to more books written in this style.
What made this book such a good page turner for me was its suspense. The action scenes were all so exciting to read, and the suspense of it all kept me thoroughly stressed out for the vast majority of the book. There were times where I had trouble putting the book down because I just had to keep reading to see what would happen next. And during times when I finally had to put the book down it became all that I would think about. Aletheia had pretty much consumed my life at this point.
The world building in this book is phenomenal. Everything about this book just felt really planned out. I had so many questions about the world as I was reading, some I didn’t think I would get answers for, but they were all answered in the end. There was so much to learn about in this book, and I have a feeling we’re going to learn even more in the next book to come.
The characterization in this book is also really good. I found myself caring for the safety of all the characters, even characters that you don’t get a chance to really know. There’s one character in which we only see them in a couple of scenes, and when they’re killed unexpectedly I found myself really shook. This is a testament to how well these characters are written.
If I had to give one criticism it would be that I wish there was more context behind 736’s relationship with 1633. We know that they’re really close friends, but we never got to learn how they came to be so close. With her other relationships with 93 and Rose we learn a little bit about how she met them and how they became friends, but there doesn’t seem to be any context to her relationship with 1633. I’m willing to forgive this, though, as I’m pretty sure we’re going to learn more in future installments in the series. 1633 seems to have some kind of connection to 736’s past that we’re not in the know about. Or at least that’s my guess.
In all I think this is an exceptional novel that redefines the dystopian genre in young adult fiction. It’s much more gritty and violent than other books within the genre. I’d recommend this to dystopian fans looking for a fresh take on the genre.