Book Reviews





Riot by Sarah Mussi - review


Title: Riot
Author: Sarah Mussi

Publisher: Hachette Children's Books
Source: ARC via Netgalley
Available: May 1st 2014
Buy it: Pre-order here


Tia is leading the rebellion against the Snip Bill, an act that her politician father is forcing upon the UK population in order to keep human numbers under control. The bill entails mandatory sterilization for all those in the "lower classes" with no plans for further education or work past college. The country is angry, and when a peaceful demonstration Tia helps organise turns into a full-blown riot, she finds herself in the unlikely company of yobs as she plans to expose her father and his secrets to the media.


The premise of Riot got me very interested, as did the great cover art. A gritty YA set in London seemed just the thing for me after the dystopian fictions I have read lately, and Riot starts of very well. We are introduced to Tia - a politically active computer whizz and politicians daughter who is also known as EVE on the internet's "underground" - in the midst of a demonstration gone wrong. The pacing is quick and breathless as the situation escalates and mob mentality sweeps across the crowd. As the reader, I felt right in the midst of the action, not sure where the writing would turn next.This was true of the whole story, and I never once felt the pace dropping.

However, as much as I loved the fury with which Riot is written, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Tia, despite being a very independent spirit, is constantly "being saved" by her "yob" crush. It got weary, knowing that any situation Tia found herself in would be quickly resolved by the appearance of Cobain, an ex-convict who has been waging war against the government in his own way for years.

I also wasn't so keen on the portrayal of Tia's father. He felt like a Bond villain - so much so I'm surprised he didn't have a cat - but there were no shades to him. In a book where pretty much everyone and everything has been misconstrued and misinterpreted, Tia's father was a cardboard cut-out villain, with no sense of love or humanity, and was ultimately a father who was ready to kill his daughter for his fabricated beliefs. It just didn't sit right with me...


Riot is a fast paced thrill ride that falls flat to a few plot devices. I think those looking for a quick UKYA read would like Riot, but those who want more from their characters in terms of development and integrity should probably look elsewhere.


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