Title: All Rights Reserved
Author: Gregory Scott Katsoulis
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Series: Word$, book one
Star Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
All Rights Reserved was the book club pick for January at one of the libraries I go to, and when I was informed of the concept, I was really excited. A dystopian world where you have to pay for your every word after the age of fifteen? What an idea! Because I was reading A Skinful of Shadows that week, I hadn’t finished it before the day of book club, and I just finished it Saturday night. And to be honest, I still don’t know exactly how I feel. I wanted to love it, but a lot of the aspects of this book just fell really flat for me; to say that I’m disappointed is a huge understatement. If you’re looking for a good dystopian novel, I’d look elsewhere, because All Rights Reserved needs a lot of work. I don’t even know if I’m going to read the sequel.
Speth Jime lives in a rigid world where every word and action is controlled; think 1984’s Big Brother, but on steroids. In her world, the government copyrights everything, to the point where progress is stagnant and no idea is new. Debt also accumulates at a rapid, breakneck pace to collar the poor, even before they leave the womb. When Jime’s best friend, Beecher, commits suicide right in front of her to escape his family’s insurmountable debt, she decides to defy the corrupt, tyrannical government and go silent. In doing so, she ignites the spark that sets fire to something that’s never happened before; a revolution. When young people around her take up her cause and begin to fight for freedom, Speth realizes that she must decide whether to speak, or risk everything she knows and loves in order to fight a system rigged against people like her…
Like I said above, I have very mixed feelings about this book. I really liked the concept of it; it seemed almost like this generation’s 1984, upon reflection. I really feel like that the book didn’t live up to my expectations; truthfully, I didn’t really care about any of the characters until the second half of the book. Even then, I didn’t really feel anything; I didn’t really have a reaction to anything that happened in the book, save one big event. The prose also needed a lot of editing; there was a lot of run-on sentences and misspellings, as well several instances of wrong word usage; this really, really bothered me. The pacing was kind of stilted and it didn’t really catch my interest. If I don’t care about the characters in a book, I don’t care about the book. The concept was unusual, but the execution of it was really clunky. Plus it felt like there was a lot of filler before the action actually started. I didn’t completely hate it, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite. It just read like a typical dystopian novel, and there wasn’t anything spectacular about it. I had really high hopes for this one, and it was just… meh. I wish I’d cared more about it. I don’t even want to read the sequel. So, moving on! The bottom line: A bold, revolutionary concept executed poorly, All Rights Reserved just left me cold; I wish I’d cared more about it, but it was just bad. Next on deck: Far From The Tree by Robin Benway!