Friday, October 31, 2014

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

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Title: The Body Electric
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Scripturient Books
Publication date: October 6, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

So who can she trust?

It's going to be hard to write a very detailed review for this book without keeping it spoiler-free. There are so many clever, unexpected twists in this book that I can't even keep up with them. That being said, The Body Electric became a read which I could not put down. 

I was immediately engrossed in this book. The story starts with quite a graphic bang, letting us inside the mind of Ella, the girl who possesses the ability to enter the minds of others during reverie. In "reverie" people can access their happiest memories in lucid dream state. Even before she discovers her unique gift, Ella's life is already far from ordinary. She's living with her sick mother, and she had recently lost her father from a terrorist attack. Ella's life had just been shattered and she's preparing for it to be shattered again.

As I've said, the book doesn't make you wait. There are no "filler scenes" as all of the details in this book are highly important, each contributing to the mystery Ella wishes to solve. The word that Beth Revis has created is also described vividly, as if you were staring at this utopia in all of its sparkle and color. An explanation of the past - the war, the bots, the science - is brief but sufficient. However, I wish more background on the technology had been given.

Ella makes this read so engaging. It is her strength and her desire to discover the whys and the hows that makes you want to read without stopping. She isn't like most female heroines in YA, either. I love how she doesn't let a boy distract her, but instead (mini spoiler) punches him in the face (end of spoiler), even though the boy is pretty good-looking. I also love how focused Ella is. She's confused, yes, but she keeps all of the facts in her mind, making her a smart character I'd like to see more of. Ella is incredibly strong and determined for her age, but she also shows her human side, which just makes her more real.

The romance in this book is alright. Although their relationship plays a big role in how things connect, I appreciated how the author didn't push it to center stage. I just wish that the state of their relationship at the end of the book had been reinforced.

This book has tons of sci-fi, and although it isn't made for those sci-fi enthusiasts who look up every tiny detail that justifies the sci-fi in the book, the amount of science that is weaved into the story is good enough that it is not overwhelming. Actually, the sci-fi in this book creates such an amazing plot that leaves you breathless. I also thought that the idea of "reverie" was brilliant. When Ella steps inside that world, you're left with a dreamy feeling as well -- as if you're experiencing the reverie.
All in all, The Body Electric is a fast-paced, unpredictable, and thrilling ride that grasps both the human and technological side of the world, highlighting the chaos that can occur when the two clash. It is filled with twists that never fail to amaze me. Strong-willed and clever, Ella also makes this book one-of-a-kind, as she acts as that refreshing heroine that readers of YA desperately need.


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