“It was almost as though everything in the world was perfect. Almost. ”
-Susanne Valenti. Chained ARC.
Terrified of the contamination and the creatures it has created, humanity hides behind The Wall. No one knows what lies beyond the wasteland. Maya has never thought much about what might still be out there, lurking in the forgotten places. But when she’s thrust into the unknown, she is forced to question everything she has ever been told. Not everyone outside died, some of them became something… else. As her heart is torn in two, every choice she makes is harder than the last. What she discovers will change her forever. She knows she will probably die, but Maya has seen enough of death and she won’t let it have her without a fight.
I came across Susanne Valenti on WordPress. I started following her blog awhile back and saw that she was giving out a few ebook ARCs. Seeing that it’s YA and a dystopian, I jumped at the opportunity and sent her an email. Holy cow. I have loved the book ever since I started reading it. I spent several nights staying up well past a teachers bedtime reading this book. It’s fast paced and changes so much! Nothing in it is stagnant.
The setting in the beginning of the book feels very similar to Divergent. But it changes SO MUCH. It’s a wild, whirlwind adventure throughout the entire novel. The main character Maya starts off in the city, but then ventures outside the walls, and then gets sent to Subwar, which is basically like the battleground outside of the city. From here, you think she is going to have to fight to survive with her friend Taylor so that they can eventually get back to their lives in the city, tucked safely behind The Walls. Everything outside of the walls is “contaminated.”
During their training for Subwar, they meet a few unlikely friends (another criminal and a Warden) and they make a few enemies. In the beginning of the book you, as the reader, think this is the plot of the novel. That they are supposed to survive Subwar and the enemies they make there. Ohhhhhh no. Hold your horses. You’re barely to the rising action of this book.
I don’t want to spoil the rest. It’s definitely a novel you need to purchase to enjoy the full plot and climax. But you meet some outsiders who Maya comes to depend on and befriend. Through her friendship with them, she begins to question the world she knows. She starts to contemplate where she really belongs. Valenti did an awesome job of character and relationship building. I love the sense of camaraderie between Maya and Coal, Maya and Alicia, and Maya and Taylor, Coal and Alicia, Laurie and Maya, etc. Each character has their own faults, but it makes them all the more loveable and relatable. They all mesh well together and build each other up.
Chained also reminded me a lot of the Studio Ghibli film Princess Mononoke and the television show The Walking Dead. As a reader I was able to make so many world connections with this novel. I love how it was an entity of itself but brought together all of these different aspects from other films and novels that I find interesting. Someone needs to pick this series up and make it into a show or movie. It would be HUGE.
I gave this novel 5/5 stars on Goodreads.
Sidenote: Susanne Valenti did a giveaway for eReader copies of her novella Cut Glass, which is a prequel to Chained and the other books that will be a part of the Cage of Lies series, and I won one of them! Wooooo-Hoooo! I just received it via email 🙂 Just when I thought I would have to figure out a new book to read! Cut Glass it is! 🙂
Find Chained on Amazon.