It would appear that I am on a somewhat dystopian role at the moment! This is a book that I came across purely by accident, and am I glad I did! Though similar to the Hunger Games in some ways, the book stills manages to retain its originality, and is actually set in the UK!
This is Rivers' first novel, and though part of me wants to know what happens next to Sola, I kind of hope that she leaves it at the one book, though I will definitely be reading anything else that she publishes!
The dystopia is interestingly structured, there are 26 cities (named after the NATO Phonetic alphabet, i.e. \Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta etc.) around the UK (including Ireland), which fear each other, and each play their part in repaying the nation's debt.
The story follows Sola, and her change of life status to becoming a demonstrator. Despite the fact that this was a first person narrative, there were several moments where I truly feared that Sola might die, which I think really shows the skill of Rivers' writing!
I was also impressed by the way that the relationship between Sola and Dylan was written, it was very real, with all the awkwardness, tension and time that a real relationship has, which is something that is missing in many books, making the world seem even more real.
Contrary to most dystopias, the people themselves don't seem to be particularly unhappy, or particularly limited or repressed (with the exception being the ban on travel, well and the demonstrations), which I believe adds to the originality, and it doesn't make the ending seem out of place. The book really felt like it was just people trying to make their way in life, and that was very refreshing.
I would definitely recommend this book, it is original, the characters develop well and have a good depth (even the 'bad guy' has other sides), and it is well written! Seriously: what's not to like???