Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Icons is my first Margaret Stohl novel. She writes young adult fiction and is the coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures series, the first book of which is now a movie (I didn't read Beautiful Creatures, but I saw the movie and was not too impressed; then again, I'm not really into witches and should have known better).

Icons is quite a different type of story, though still paranormal. Dol and Ro are not normal teenagers, and it's not just because they no longer live in a normal world. When they were infants, everything changed on The Day, when the Lords invaded from space and killed everything in 13 major cities across the globe. The survivors knew there was no hope in resistance. But Dol and Ro are special. They have abilities no one else has, abilities that feel more like curse than blessing. Dol feels everyone's emotions, and on Ro comes a rage so strong he becomes an unstoppable physical force. Only Dol can calm him. They've managed to stay out of site of the Icons and the Lords so far. But the truth of their existence is about to be revealed, and they will have to face their fears and the power of their emotions.

I enjoyed this book for the most part. The setting, though post-apocalyptic, manages to be different than what I've read before (though, granted, not much detail is given), and the paranormal powers are surprisingly (since so many books use them) unique in their presentation and use. I was intrigued about what Dol, who narrates, could or would do with her power, and information about her power is strung along little by little to pull the reader deeper into the story. Between chapters there are "classified memos" that relate to what's going on, often revealing an outside perspective to Dol's. Sometimes the memos' significance doesn't become clear until later. The story is interesting, particularly as new significant characters are added, broadening the plot.

But there was something lacking for me at the end. (Minor SPOILERS may follow.) I felt like there was the story and there was the ending: two separate things that didn't mesh well together. From a character development standpoint, it was fine. Dol got from one point to another, and all the connections were fairly clear. What wasn't as clear was the plot resolution. Not enough clues were provided on that front early on. The end just happened, and not everything necessarily followed from what had transpired earlier. Sorry for being vague, but I really try to avoid spoilers. So, there was that, and (this might be the SPOILER you want to avoid), I didn't like how the romance ended up. There's a love triangle, and I'm not sure Dol picks the right boy. It didn't make the best sense to me. I wasn't convinced of it working out that way, and I didn't understand it. So, the ending was a little rough for me.

I didn't have issues with the morals of the book, though no great attempt seems to have been made to discuss issues of morality. The biggest question raised is whether to risk lives for a chance to do greater good, but even that is not satisfactorily answered. Overall, the morality of the book is neutral, but there's nothing too offensive.

Other than that, I thought the story was unique and enjoyable and a worthy three-star beginning to a new series. Icons was published this past spring. Idols (Icons #2) will be published next summer.

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