Book Review: Rule of One by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders

What this book is about: 

Mira and Ava Goodwin are twins born in the near-future United States in this dystopian future sci-fi novel. However, the U.S. has strictly adopted a One Child law and their father is the director of the department that enforces this law. The girls spend their entire lives pretending to be Ava, the only one with a valid microchip in her wrist. When one girl is above ground being Ava, the other hides in the vast basement hideaway. Of course, at some point, they are discovered and everything turns on its head as they are hunted down to be killed. Fortunately for them, the Resistance has been waiting and is ready to embrace them as the poster children for their rebellion.

What I liked: 

The writing was good, actually. These women know how to write and pull off compelling narrative and dialogue. When I was reading, it was easy to keep reading.

The girls grow and develop as the story moves forward, most notably Mira, the always overshadowed one since she was born second. She comes into her own during the latter half of the story and that’s nice to see, even as she’s being an idiot teenager.

What I didn’t like: 

The plot felt very predictable, and it’s so reminiscent of Hunger Games, minus the game of children killing each other. The super oppressive government controlling everyone and everything was underwhelming to me. The plot development forward felt forced at times, and characters were picked up and dropped as necessary.

There are some glaring plot holes in the story as well. Somehow, the government of Texas has the resources to chase these girls all across the country and the manner in which they are found feels contrived. A lot of the major plot points and twists didn’t feel earned to me, either. I found myself thinking “of course that would happen” as things moved along.

As Ava and Mira grew, many other characters felt quite flat in their roles. Halton never moves beyond being greasy and slick, and Lucia was integral to a chapter, but then is never mentioned again.

Overall thoughts and opinions: 

The story felt too forced and contrived for my liking. I actually managed to set it down for nearly a month before I remembered I had it and finished it.

The writing is quite good, and probably the only reason I finished it. The authors do well in the set-up of the story and the alternation of chapters between the girls is interesting. There isn’t quite enough difference in the girls’ personalities to make it obvious who is who at times, but getting half the story from each perspective was well done.

Taking more time to fill up plot holes would have been extremely beneficial. These girls, who have never been outside the tiny area of Dallas near their home and school, somehow survive out in the wilderness for days and days, escape from a roving gang of bandits, and without water or GPS, somehow find their way to Colorado from Texas. Ava has an impeccable sense of distance and somehow knows exactly where they are, but it’s hard to believe. I understand that some things had to happen because of pacing reasons, but those decisions made the story feel rather contrived. Perhaps less critical readers won’t pick up on these things, but these are the things that eventually ruined the story for me. I won’t be going back for book 2.

Because of the writing, I can bump this to three stars. It’s okay, but I probably wouldn’t actually recommend it to anyone.

3 star rating

Learn more about the authors and the book.

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