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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: PODs by Michelle Pickett

Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Series: PODs #1
Young Adult
Pages: 312
Genre: Dystopian, Romance

Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul. 

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters. 
Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.
*Advanced reader's copy provided by Spencer Hill Press for an honest review as a part of the blog tour* 

There happens to be so much that I have to say about PODs. Some good and some bad. But that is how every review usually is unless there was absolutely no flaw to be found by the reviewer. Then again, nothing is ever perfect.

PODs had such potential to be much more than it was in my eyes. The originality of this dystopian world was completely compelling just by the synopsis alone. The cover just happens to be an attractive bonus. There were so many different ways that I had pictured events happening in the novel that could have upped the ante in stakes a little more than how Pickett had given the tale. The beginning was one complete hook that actually made me get emotional.

If you were chosen by the government to live in a safe environment where a deathly virus wiping out the entire human population wouldn't touch you, would you go? If it meant leaving the people you loved just to survive another day? I don't know if I would be able to make that step, even if my parents and my brother were practically begging for me to live on. I don't think I could bare the regret and heartache. So putting myself in Eva's shoes during her departure to the quarantine did bring about feeling that I would have leaving those that I love most in this world behind. Screaming and crying and wanting nothing more than for them to come or for me to stay.

Pacing flew during the beginning of the book. Completely engrossed in the PODs and the virus, I just wanted to keep knowing more and more. I wanted all the conflict and emotions and development. 

Weeks and months would pass in nearly one chapter. Characters were introduced only to be taken away by the next few pages. Once the PODs came into the picture living with ten people--five guys & five girls--and the months inside the PODs swishing away with the turn of every page, it was difficult to understand and distinctly characterize each and every character. The girls were easy to remember only by physical appearances  really: Tiffany was the pregnant girl, Katie was the youngest, Jai Li was Chinese, and Eva was the main heroine. But for the boys, was only one who could be described through lateral development and that was Josh, the ass and colossal jerk of the group who only thought about himself and wanting to hook up with Eva, really because she was the only sterotypical normal girl in his age group that wasn't pregnant, a child, or a different ethnicity as he said so himself through dialogue.

David happens to be the main love interest of Eva. The only real reason I find that his name is memorable is because he is the main love interest. His name is plastered on the black of the book. If that wasn't the case, than it would be difficult to differentiate between him and the three other boys of the group--Aidan, Seth, and George. Because of how the pacing is so quick between scenes, the character development lacks.

Even the relationship between David and Eva is forced. Because the months happen to go by at such an alarming rate, and in-text content deems that the two love birds had gotten to know each other through studying together for a month's time, the reader is left out on that elemental development and is rather told than shown. Eva goes from declaring that a relationship with anybody in the PODs was unethical to wanting hot and steamy make out sessions with having their clothing ripped off. She raves about how gorgeous and hot David is. That, and how he has this body of a Greek god. Typical cliched insta-cheese from the can type physical male description. I don't know how many times I counted side characters noticed their inconsiderate spit swapping sessions right in front of them and made a comment about "getting a room" or something along those lines.

What I actually found interesting was the undecided choice in coursework material down in the PODs based on their academic achievements in whatever level of schooling they were left at. The theory Eva has as well. How everyone picked from the raffle system neither exceeded the age of 25 or was below the age of 10, and each selected person as accumulated at least a 4.0 GPA. The fixed partake by the government to harbor these young elite populous in order to rebuild a structured America after the virus wiped out the topside population was astounding. I probably would not even be considered with my 3.7 GPA by the government standard in PODs, another realization that opened my eyes.

Now Eva and the group of Sub-POD 29 only remain down in the PODs for 15 months, more than the year they had been promised. Only then they are separated to depart back up to the world above to live in sterilized communities to work. To this, Eva is devastated because not only is the group disbanding, but she was not going to live with David in the same village. 

Now, the novel is called PODs. So I was expecting the survival to last longer down in them for at least more than not even one-half of the book. I anticipated more POD shutdowns and malfunctions, more growth between characters rather than shipping them off to random parts of the United States to begin anew.

I expected more in Eva, more fight rather than the plague of stubbornness. I expected more of a character and less of a head over heels love bird who throws away her safety just to be with the boy she supposedly loves. I expected more development time. I expected more focus on dystopion and less focus on romance. It felt clogged and clouded the remainder of the novel. A pity, because I was barreling through the beginning with much attention and craving only to end up with the usual cliche of novels: impending, sappy, "you're the only one, the world mean nothing with out you" romance.

Final Summation: The good, the bad, and the ugly. PODs harbors it all, as most novels tend to do. Pickett brought me to complicate my position in her terrifying world. She also brought me to notice pacing issues, lacking character development, and romance that was just too big of a distraction from what I really wanted in this novel. PODs premise and originality really is something. In the second novel to this series, THE INFECTED, I do hope for some much needed improvement and deep diving into the hearts of the characters rather than the physical surface barely even scratched.

First Line: I walked in the front door just minutes before dinner to find my parents huddled in front of the television set.
Story: A
Cover: S