Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Me on Possession

Title: Possession
Author: Elana Johnson
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse (S&S imprint)

Vi knows the Rule: girls don't walk with boys and they never think about kissing them. Unfortunately for Vi, no one makes her want to break the Rules more than Zenn. The Thinkers, the Greenies, the Goodies, have chosen him as her future match. What harm could one kiss do? The Thinkers have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi wants to keep thinking for herself.

But the Thinkers want Vi to become one of them. Vi can't leave Zenn, but she's not so sure about the rebellion, especially when it means teaming up with Jag. Vi can't quite trust Jag, and she can't quite resist him, but she just can't give up on Zenn. The game is control or be controlled. Vi has no choice but to play.

Truth or lies. Reality or submission. Free will or acceptance. Technology or freedom. Control or be controlled. Deceive or be deceived.

Yet another dystopian society with nearly every aspect of individuality stripped away from its human beings. Hints of this book here and there remind me of Ally Condie's Matched and Lauren Oliver's Delirium, the society that uses technology to control and the rigid social customs.

Vi's nowhere near perfect, meaning she's not about to do what's expected of her. What teenager is really going to do what they're told (apart from the ones who really like that kind of smothering authority)? The second a child starts to piece together that society is trying to control her, she's going to rebel as much as she can. Unless they brainwash the hell out of her, but Vi's not about to let them do that.

She's caught between two worlds, two sides, two boys. Zenn, her perfect guy, controlled and proper. Jag, the bad guy, rough and different and bad, part of the resistance. Continually flip-flopping between one or the other.

**Spoilers. Be warned. Proceed only if you've read the book or are willing to be spoiled.**

I kept feeling like I was missing something. Why did they put Vi in the same cell as Jag? They had to have known that would spell disaster. And why does Vi never question the voice in her head? I would.

The summary seemed misleading as I started to read the book, then it didn't. It was a point where summary vagueness didn't quite work out.

Vi's continual flip-flop between Zenn and Jag kept picking at me. Jag loves her, clearly, but to Zenn she's some kind of war prize from her father for luring her other to their side. Vi can't see that, or isn't willing to see that, even when she starts to care for Jag. And even when she cares for him, she starts to hate him almost instantly. Vi is never sure who to trust. Never. Not until the end when that free will is taken from her.

The mind control  and voice control came out of nowhere, and I'll admit I thought it was an interesting twist, the different mental powers some characters had. I just wish Vi had been a little less grating.

Vi questions everything, she's never completely sure who to trust, except for Zenn, even when she finds out he's working for the Thinkers and her father. She just can't give over that last little bit to Jag until the end.

The end. *sigh* Vi has guts, she's got balls, she's got attutide. You can read the end a few different ways. One, Vi did it to save Jag, she gave herself up to her father to save Jag from becoming one of his toys, even when it meant forgetting all about him. Two, which makes Vi sound weak, is that she just wasn't strong enough to fight off her father, that she went through everything only to end up back where she was, only a little more compliant. That deep down, deep deep down, what it boiled down to was her wanting her father back. That she really didn't want to be the one to control.

Of course, that sounds really pessimistic and makes the book pointless, but there are some characters that just can't handle being a name for a cause. I hope it's the first one. I'm pretty sure it's the first one, considering how in the last two chapters she keeps talking about someone she loves, her Choker, and how it's not Zenn.

Because of how the book ends, I'm wary of a sequel or series. What would book 2 be about? Jag kidnapping her, forcing her to remember? Vi going through her new life with Zenn where she knows there's someone else out there and so she starts searching? I don't know. (I wrote this before the author announced there would be a companion novel, not a sequel. The main characters will be different. I feel better knowing there's another book set in the same world coming.)

When I first read the end, it annoyed me. After I took a break and came back to read it again, I understand it better. In a dystopian society, there's a layer of supposed perfection over something bleak and destroying and terrible. Is there really supposed to be a happy ending when the society isn't overtaken?

Control or be controlled. In the end, they couldn't quite control Vi. She still loves Jag. She still knows something's wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I felt pretty much the same way you did. I tried to stay away from spoilers in my review, but having spoilers really proved your point.