I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Banded by Logan Byrne
Published by Logan Byrne on 4-8-2014
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Young Adult
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In dystopian Manhattan, society is divided into six zones, with each one representing a citizen’s benefit to society: Stalwart (strength), Astute (intelligence), Collusive (greed), Radiant (beauty), Quixotic (no life direction), and the Altruistic (willingness to help others). On a citizen’s sixteenth birthday, a computer suggests a new zone for them based on their inherent benefit to society. When Kalenna Slater is sorted out of her home zone Quixotic and into Altruistic, she thinks things can’t get worse. Life looks dismal until she meets Gavin, a boy also just sorted into Altruistic who becomes the light needed on her cloudy days.
During sorting she receives a device known as ‘The Band’. It’s a large watch-like device that never comes off, and it measures a citizen’s karma on a scale from one to one hundred. If a citizen does good, they gain points. If a citizen does bad, including breaking laws, they lose points. When your number reaches zero, the band acts as judge, jury, and executioner, and you are injected with toxins that kill you within minutes.
After sorting, recruits are taken to a three month long mandatory school named HQ. It’s at HQ she meets new friends from different zones, and finally begins to feel at ease. Everything goes well until a rare trip home makes her discover that her father, who has been missing for a decade, may have taken part in a terrible program that stands to shake the fabric of society.
Banded is a book about a dystopian society were citizens are divided and segregated by the government according to their aptitude. They are given permanent bands on their arms which deduct points anytime they cross the government. If they reach 0, the bands kill the wearer. Kalenna is sorted into the Altrustric group (doctors, etc.) and sent to HQ to for training. While there she learns more about the secrets the government is hiding, and the secrets her father had before he disappeared.
I enjoyed reading this book and following the story of Kalenna. The world is interesting, and Kalenna and her friends are well developed and likable. She is a strong heroine, but a realistic one as well as she has some flaws and weaknesses. The pacing seemed great to me, with an easy-to-follow plot, and I was able to finish this book quickly.
There were just a few things that bothered me. First off, it explains that a failed revolution of 2012 caused the society to be the way it is. That right there (reading this in 2014) ruins it for me. Perhaps if that date was set to something farther in the future, it would not have taken me out of the fantasy. Also, I felt like Kalenna’s roommate was a useless, underused character. Perhaps she will feature prominently in a sequel. And lastly, it just ended too soon without much being resolved or happening…it just needed more of something. In the end, the government and society is unchanged, but Kalenna is not so perhaps she will be primed for more upheaval and change in a future novel.
Overall, a good start and introduction to a new dystopian series with a ton of potential. I look forward to seeing what the author does with it.