Starters follows the story of Callie, an unclaimed minor living in a semi post-apocalyptic America where only starters (20ish and younger) and elders have survived.
It is told in first person, and information about this new America is provided in trickles. This is both a good and bad thing. Good because info dumps can be boring and/or overwhelming when not done properly, and bad because I didn’t get enough information to sate my curiosity.
The book was very mixed pace – sometimes too slow, sometimes too fast, though midway it found a good rhythm. Towards the end though, things started moving way too fast.
There is a character death around the point that the pacing picked up, and it didn’t feel like it had any weight to it. Sadly, this character death doesn’t really have any impact on the story – the author tries to use it as motivation for Callie, but the plot could have easily moved along without that character dying. Looking back on it now, its almost as if Price used the death as an excuse to avoid anything truly horrible happening to the Callie’s loved ones.
Everything after this point felt rushed, as if Price was trying to make up for the slow start. The book definitely could have benefited from a few extra pages during this point. The ending also tidied up quite neatly – honestly, a little too neat. It also felt like there was a lot of fluff between the climax of the book and the cliffhanger for the sequel. I think it would have ended nicer if the climax had ended with the cliffhanger and the fluff in between had been moved to the sequel.
Callie herself was an interesting character, stubborn and determined, though a little under developed. I had some issues with certain side characters – one changed her outlook on things pretty quickly when Callie laid out facts that had been pretty obvious to the character all along, in a rather unbelievable fashion.
Overall Starters was an entertaining read, even with its faults. I particularly liked a major twist that’s revealed towards the end that I absolutely did not see coming, as well as a line towards the start that referenced Mexico building a wall to keep out Americans.
I’m going to give Starters a 3.5 and I’ll definitely be reading the sequel, Enders (it’s on its way to me now).