Thursday, 13 November 2014


                                 E-Book Cover                                            Paperback Cover

Title: Unworthy
Author: Joanne Armstrong
Release Date: June 2014  

BLURB from Goodreads
Nearly two hundred years after a killer disease swept the planet, an island nation continues its isolated survival due to the ruthless dedication of its military. The laws and culture of the country are based on the survival of the fittest, distrust of disease, and control of the general population. 
Marked at birth as “Unworthy” to be raised, a young woman questions the necessity for the cruel practice, so many years after the Isolation was declared. She embarks on a journey which will uncover truths about her past and about her society which she could never have imagined.

As you will see above this book has two covers, which I do like both (I'll go on a bit more about the cover within my Review) so I decided to feature both of them. I was looking forward to this one, as it's a dystopian, which I guess you're all sick of hearing now, is one of my favourite genres. Though I do have high expectations for dystopian books too, I think the societies that are created need to have a believable element to them, as well as having characters that you can empathise with. So to sum up I was looking forward to this one a lot.

Brilliant, when can I read the next part? Highly recommend reading this one. My full probably gushing review will follow soon.

I really was super lucky with this book, the author sent me an e-copy, and to be fair it had been on my list a while when the author sent me an updated version of the e-book and then once the paperback was available the other asked if she could send me a physical copy. (That is now sitting at the front of our living room bookcase waiting for my daughter to read.) So why hadn't I gotten around to reading the book earlier? Basically time, health and life, I just hadn't managed to get to it. So I'd agreed with my daughter she would read the paperback, and I decided to read a bit of the ebook whilst I waited for the paperback to arrive. Kind of just to read a taster of the book, fully intending to stop and then read the paperback. Hmm once I began reading I didn't want to put the book down and ended up finishing the ebook the night before the paperback arrived! I was so pulled in to the book, and immediately cared about what happened to the characters of Alex and Arcadia. I loved the detailing in the book, of the surroundings, where Arcadia lived as well as the descriptions of the scenery and terrain she later travels through with Alex.
As I said above I love both covers, though I do think that the paperback cover fits the dystopian genre much better. It has the silhouettes of both the main characters of Alex and Arcadia. It also features the mark that is put on the wrist of any child considered sickly or weak which is referred to as the mark of the Unworthy. The paperback cover also has a backdrop of the terrain that both Alex and Arcadia have to travel through. Looking at the ebook cover, it suggests a more contemporary read than the fantastic dystopian within. I also really like the byline/sub title of "Mark To Die, Raised To Survive". Those words and sentiment really fit the character of Arcadia Grey. So I want to say a huge thank you to Joanne Armstrong the author for providing me with both an e-copy and paperback copy of her brilliant book. Would the cover/covers make me pick the book up from a book shelf? Yes, I'd pick up both/either cover for closer inspection in a book store.
The book begins with the main male character of Alex Hayes, who is in the military that exists in this book, being given strict, confidential orders to basically go "off grid" to find, and bring back a young female. Alex asks no questions, he knows better than to do so, he does as he is told. Knowing fully that if he is caught "on grid" those who have issued the orders will just deny all knowledge for he knows only too well he is "expendable".
Then we meet the main female character of Arcadia Grey, or Dia as those closest to her call her. Dia lives with her grandfather, she has done so for as long as she can remember. Her parents and brother were killed. Dia's grandfather doesn't like to talk about it.
When babies are born they are fitted with a nano patch which is explained to the general populus as a kind of vaccine to protect the child. If the child then falls ill it is marked Unworthy and cast out into the woods within a circle of stones, if the child survives the night he/she is brought back into society but is forever marked Unworthy. Though the majority of the newborns, that are thought weak and so cast out do not survive the night. If the child survives the elements it has animals etc to contend with so the odds are most certainly set against the child. Dia has secretly being going to the woods to watch over these outcast babies, and trying to ward off the animals etc in her opinion trying to give the babies a fighting chance. The people within Arcadia's settlement are called "hubbite" and live in hub like living quarters. Everyone knows everyone, so being marked Unworthy is a big thing. You may cover the mark on your arm but everyone in your settlement knows you are Unworthy and treat you as so. In fact you get accused of everything from turning cheese bad, to causing mothers to have weak "unworthy" offspring. So Arcadia's life is not an easy one. All males in the settlement, and first borns have to go away and join the military which in this society is called the Polis. Boys have to serve 6 months of every year. Two festivals mark the ends of these military shifts. When we first meet Arcadia she is pleased her childhood friend and Aunt Maramba's son is returning to the hub. Though trouble breaks out and everything changes, in fact, Arcadia's world is ripped apart when her grandfather is fatally injured whilst trying to protect a young boy from a Polis guard beating. Just as Arcadia is trying to come to terms with her grandfathers passing, Alex turns up and demands she must go with him. Arcadia's grandfather hinted at some important information he should have told her but never gave her the whole message. Then the book changes pace and we follow Alex and Arcadia making their way back to head quarters. Arcadia has to deal with rather a lot of home truths along this journey and sadly finds out things she perhaps would wish she had been left ignorant of. Alex has to call in favours to stay off the grid and not go through normal channels and border posts etc. They also have to deal with a Tracker intent on doing her job, and isn't bothered who she hurts or kills in the process.
This book is so action packed as well as emotionally packed in places too. Arcadia may be marked Unworthy but that doesn't mean she has no morals or standards she keeps and holds others up to. There is a real twist near the end of the book, it really has you saying "oh, wow!" You really couldn't guess at it. I really loved reading this book. I thought the characters of Alex and Arcadia were great, so thought out well and how they react to one another, and their friendship blossoms during the arduous journey they have to undertake.
I could seriously go on and on and on about this book I loved it sooo much! If the next book had been available I would have been asking when I could read it right away. Nearer the end of the book we meet those who "govern" and make the rules for hubbites to follow and see how they react to Arcadia. Arcadia is certainly left with a lot to think about right at the very end of the book. Is she up to the task that lies ahead of her? Can she change how their society works at the moment? I think she can, and I hope Alex will be at her side to help her through it too. There's so many questions still to be answered, as well as others to arise and be answered too.
So did I enjoy the book? I loved it, every chapter, and every word, I loved all the characters, even the nasty ones were great!
Would I recommend the book? Definitely, I've been harassing my daughter my daughter to read it asap too! I'm trying to chill and not nag her anymore as I don't want to put her off with my over eagerness for her to read the book. But at the same time I'm absolutely bursting to discuss the book and all that happens within its pages with her.
Would I want to read a Bk2? Yes please sign me up now!
Would I look at other titles by this author? I've checked Goodreads, but there doesn't appear to be any others at the moment, but I will keep checking.

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