Jul 8, 2013

Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan Review

Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan
(Wasteland #1)
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen; 336 pages

Welcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants —- hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin.

Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.

Wasteland is the first book in a post apocalyptic young adult trilogy.  I actually have only read a few post apocalyptic novels, but I have read a few dystopian novels.  I know that the two are similiar, and are often confused of which is which by readers.  Wastleland is clearly post apocalyptic.  The Earth is pretty much unliveable.  There is toxic rain, and the sun gives off relentless heat.  The sun rays are so harsh that people have to wear sunglasses and robes to protect themselves.  The current average age that a person lives to be is 19, so there is pretty much no adults.  Children are forced to grow up at an early age, and babies are almost always born stillborn.

Esther is considered to be the main character.  About half the book is told from her perspective.  Esther pretty much showed me what would happen without adult supervision.  Esther doesn't listen to rules, and for the most part doesn't do the work assigned for her.  Esther is on the verge of being Shunned (kicked out) from her town, but with the way she acts it's like she doesn't even care.  Esther is just too naive, and is a hard character to like.  There is a scene where Esther is supposed to be bonding with Caleb, a new kid in town.  But there was no chemistry, and the scene did not have enough dialogue.  Their feelings were summarized in a few paragraphs instead of expressed.

The world also wasn't explained very well.  There are these creatures that are introduced early on called Variants.  The citizens of Prin (the town Wastleland takes place in) call them mutants, but no one is sure where they evolved from.  I'd like to know what happened to the Earth?  Why is the rain toxic?  Why is the sun giving off such powerful rays?  I found myself asking so many questions, that I just couldn't find the read enjoyable.

I struggled with writing this review.  While Wastleland is a quick read, unfortunately for me it just wasn't a good read.  This book just has too many point of views.  And the point of views shift back and forth at a continuous rate.  I've said before that this is a risky thing for an author to do because you take the risk of confusing the reader.  At one point I confused two of the characters, and had to flip back to see who was who.  There was just too much going on for one book.  I would have liked to see the pace slowed down, and more character development.


  1. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one, Sara =(

  2. I saw this book and was curious about it, I'm glad I decided to wait before grabbing it. I think I'll be skipping this one, underdeveloped unlikable characters = no thank you!


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