Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review: Wasteland by Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan

Wasteland by Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan
Wasteland, #1
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by HarperTeen
Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Welcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants —- hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin. Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.
My Initial Thoughts:

Well this sounds like the pretty standard post-apocalyptic dystopian. The toss in of Variants might give it a little extra something. I don’t have huge expectations for it but it does sound like it could be a good book.  

My Review:

Well, unfortunately I was disappointed in this book. My major disappointment is the world building. The world building in this book really isn’t very good at all. I would have liked to see a good explanation of how the world got the way it did. They mention acidic rain and past earthquakes but that’s really as far as it goes.

In this book no one lives past the age of 19. There is no genetic mutation or anything like that. It just seems they die at a young age because of all the hard work, lack of food, and harsh conditions. You would think this would be a random age that they die at not just people dying at 19. They are still living off supplies from “the source” so the events could not have happened to long ago. However there are no adults left at all. Children start being placed at jobs at a very young age. I have a 6 year old and I can say without a doubt you couldn’t get him to work those jobs all day in the hot sun, yet this doesn’t seem to be a problem in the story.

At the age of 12-14 children start being partnered (basically married) and usually have children soon after. That seems just crazy to me. Even if the world is going to hell that is still way too young, especially if people are still living up until they are 19.

The situation doesn’t make sense. I don’t see how a town full of people would do all this work and take orders from one guy that they don’t ever see just so he will share the food from the place he broke in to. I don’t see a bunch of people just standing by while they work to get gas for the only place in town that has electricity but they aren’t allowed to go in it. They are all scared of a few bodyguards because they have hand held Tasers. Yet (SMALL SPOILER) the guards seem to be over powered quite easily a couple times in the book.

There are also no explanations on the Variants. At the beginning the main character says she doesn’t know how they got that way but they are almost alien creatures so there needed to be some sort of explanation for them.  They choose at a certain age whether they want to be male or female! (Not a spoiler. This is at the beginning of the book). This seems to be of no use to the story and sort of just added in there for no reason. So I started and ended the book being quite confused on the Variants and why people hated them so much before they started being attacked.

Besides the bit of randomness with the Variants there are also certain bits of the story that seem to just be thrown in to cause the story to continue. One which is sort of a spoiler that involves Esther’s sister is almost completely random and I don’t understand why the authors chose to put it in the story.

As for the characters, I really didn’t care about any of them. The writing in this book didn’t make you feel anything. You were told that the two characters fell in love but you weren’t made to feel it. You were told how mad Caleb was about his family’s death but there was nothing there to feel. You don’t even learn anything about his first partner or really even his child.

I could really go on for more but I think I made my point so I am just going to stop here.

Do I Recommend this Book/Series?

I don’t like to say this but no I don’t recommend this book. There are much better post-apocalyptic/dystopian books on the market.

Will I Read the Next Book?

I doubt it.

My Rating:

The more I wrote on the review the more I realized how much I really didn’t like the book. It ended up losing a couple stars in the process.


*This book was provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.



  1. blah this makes me so sad because I really liked the cover for this one and had high hopes. All the reviews I have read for it though talk of the lack of world building and that just doesn't fly with me. Fabulous review and thanks for letting me know to stay away from this one!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I was sad too because it had so much potential. The world building (or lack thereof) really ruined it.


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