on October 22, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, YA
A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.
At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.
The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.
If they play it right, then they'll be safe.
But if they play it wrong, they'll die.
……….OK, I’m back. Of course, the first question is, why did these people tolerate Teo’s madness? Even after he murdered several of them, the survivors still obeyed his orders. This wasn’t a situation where they were born into a cult and indoctrinated into its bizarre ways. Instead, they were plucked out of their normal lives and told, “Make me believe you’re Romeo and Juliet, or you die.” It was never adequately explained how Teo was able to wield such power over them, and that was one of the biggest failings of the book.
The other major failing was the love triangle between Cheyenne, Teo, and Marcus, Teo’s brother. I think Teo was supposed to be a sexy, dangerous type, a la The Darkling, but he was simply abhorrent. He reveals his madness very early on, but Cheyenne continues to swoon over him. She’s convinced he’s merely misguided, even after he murders several people and threatens her own life. Her stupidity made it impossible for me to have an ounce of sympathy for her. As for Teo, what exactly was it that drew him to Cheyenne? Perhaps he was attracted to her gullibility, but this is another aspect of the story that didn’t make any sense. The third side of this twisted love triangle is Teo’s brother, Marcus. He’s as dim-witted as Cheyenne, but at least he wasn’t trying to murder her; I suppose that’s a point in his favor.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Cheyenne: “Am I really one of those girls who needs to have a boy?” If you have to ask yourself that as you continue to happily make out with a guy after watching him murder people, the answer might be, “YES.”
Note – I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Review posted at Goodreads.