Wednesday, April 24, 2013

We Barely Have a Pulse on This One!

When the world was clearly facing an end, the consolidation of humans seemed to be the only thing left to do. In Patrick Carman's Pulse,  over 90% of the earth's population lives in controlled states while the rest of the world is left to its own devices. A few people live outside the states, but life isn't easy on the outside.

Faith hides an important secret from everyone. Her parents are drifters. There are two kinds of people on the outside of the states: those who can't give up their freedom and the drifters who don't really know where they belong. No one trusts the drifters, so Faith doesn't tell many people about her parents. But as more and more people leave the outside for the states, more and more schools are closed and Faith is forced to move around herself often. But at her latest school, changes seem to be happening.

Everyone relies on their tablets for school and the rest of their lives, but it is illegal to hack the tablets or use them for anything they weren't intended for. But teenagers never follow rules like that. Kids have developed a way to create "Wire Codes" which is a code that creates a kind of hallucination or "drug" when entered in the tablet and watched. When Faith is forced to take two Wire Codes without her knowledge, it starts her on a journey of which she won't come back from. Doors are opened to her abilities, abilities she didn't even know she had. But Faith will quickly realize she is in over head in a world she barely understands. 

I have to be honest and say I finally gave up on this book at page 270, about 100 pages shy of completion. I never quit on a book that far into it, but I really had to force myself to get that far to begin with. The book just wasn't all that exciting and I had absolutely no investment in any of the characters. It took over 200 pages just to introduce the idea of the Pulse. Frankly, that is ridiculous. The first 200 pages of the book were just Faith's wanderings and involvement with different boys and getting herself into odd situations. It could have been scrapped entirely because it didn't even accomplish its primary purpose- to make me give a hoot about Faith. It isn't that I disliked Faith, I just didn't have any feelings toward her whatsoever. And the rest of the characters are there so briefly and superficially it hurt my emotional connection to the book. 

So I finally gave up. There was a weird clash of a dystopia and super-tech stuff like the tablets. This can be done if explained well (Under the Never Sky), but nothing was explained until 2/3 through the book, so it just managed to be a strange combination the whole time. And it wasn't even completely explained by then! Just a partial info dump and background to the story, but there were too many holes in the story. So my suggestion is to take a pass on this one. It isn't worth the effort of trying to get through it. There are far better dystopias out there. 

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