Sara’s Reviews of Swipe & Sneak by Erin Angler

SwipeRating: paw3

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Date Published: May 8th 2012

Series: Swipe #1

Goodreads Description:

Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, “Swipe” follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is “Left Behind” meets “Matched” for middle-grade readers.

Review:

When I first picked this book up it was because I found the synopsis to be interesting and it looked like something that I would enjoy reading. I didn’t know at the time that folks were calling it Christian Fiction. And to be honest with you, I still don’t understand why it’s called that even after having read the book. When all is said and done, I found Swipe to be a confusing, yet fun, read, and there were things that I liked about the novel, there were things that I didn’t like about it, so this is one of those “Your mileage will vary” reviews.

Of the things I liked, I found the general structure behind Angler’s world to be fascinating. A world verging on total unification and “peace” but lacking entirely of real choice? Not exactly a world I would like to be a part of, but one that I’d enjoy studying for sure. Angler drew me into his world by focusing heavily on the politics behind the pledge and the Mark itself, two ideas which were the selling point of the book for me. I also really liked reading about the advance technology. From the tablets and rollersticks to the various stealth materials DOME uses for spying, I definitely would like to get my paws on some of this stuff, murr!

The only real problem that I had with Angler’s world was that I couldn’t entirely understand what brought the history. I couldn’t figure out how much of it was a result of one man’s attempts to quell the chaos in Europe being copied in the US or whether it was a global meltdown of everything that lead to two different people establishing control in their respective countries and eventually teaming together. So as a result, the actual history was rather lost on me, and I fear, like Logan, I was in the dark with most of it. Still doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to learn more about it though. =^.^=

Where the story completely lost me was in the characters themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Logan, Erin, Dane (when he wasn’t being an obnoxious jerk), Peck, and the rest of the Dust quite a bit, but I couldn’t get over their ages. With the exception of Peck, who was 18,  all of the rest of the kids are around the age of 13, and yet they don’t act like any 13-year-old that I know. Now yes, one could argue that given the world that they are in, children mature faster and are literally able to think like adults by this age, but it just doesn’t seem possible to me that they could all be as mature as they are portrayed. By far my favorite characters were Tyler and Eddie because they were always joking around and having fun, much like I would except from children their age. The rest just simply weren’t believable for me, and I tried to believe…really I tried.

The other problem that I had was the pacing of the story felt slow. There wasn’t a lot of action to hold my interest and I found myself skipping ahead a lot in order to see if the book would pick up later in the chapter. This slow pacing made the book feel like it was a set-up novel for the second book of the series. I felt like a lot of Angler was doing was introducing characters and concepts in this story. It’s not a horrible thing, but it does diminish my enjoyment of a story if I feel like it’s primarily filler.

So, it is safe to safe that while I didn’t love this title, I didn’t entirely hate it either. This was a definite “meh” read for me. But I still plan on checking out the rest of the series as it becomes available because I really do like the world that Angler created.

***

SneakRating: paw4

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Date Published: September 4th 2012

Series: Swipe #2

Goodreads Description:

When Logan Langly backed out of getting the Mark and went on the run, no one thought he could survive on his own. Without the Mark, you can’t buy food, go to the doctor, or use a tablet–you aren’t even a citizen.

But when he discovers that his sister is being held in a mysterious hidden prison named Acheron, Logan risks everything to travel through an underground network of the Markless to rescue her.

Logan arrives only to find that Acheron holds more secrets than anyone could have guessed and that all his careful planning is worthless against a government that will do anything to gain absolute control.

It seems there is only one place to turn. But can a banned book with whisper-thin pages and warnings about the real meaning of the Mark really hold the Answer?

Review:

I definitely enjoyed this book more than the first one in the series, mostly in part because it had more action in it. There was also more a sense of urgency in this book that was lacking in the first. And I felt like I connected with the characters more, even though I still find it hard to believe that they are as mature as they are depicted.

As I mentioned in my previous review, I really enjoy the world that Angler has created within his novels. From the Marked to the Markless, DOME, and the Riverroad, there are many different facets to his world that I find fascinating. And I also like that much of it is stuff that readers can relate too. General Lamson and Chancellor Cylis aren’t exactly dictators, but they aren’t far from it, the Riverroad is very much like the Underground Railroad from the 1800’s, etc. And while I’m sure some folks would look at me and call me a simple feline for finding a fascination in the blending of Angler’s world with our own, the truth of the matter is that I enjoy reading books where the world is easily comparable with ours. It means that I don’t have to sit here and create the entire world from scratch…not saying that I don’t enjoy doing that, but a break is nice every now and then, murr!

The characters were also more enjoyable for me this time. Part of it, I think, was because they were already well-established from the first book and now it was a simple matter of allowing them to continue growing. And I do feel like there was a lot of character growth on everyone’s part, though I think Erin’s character is the one who grew the most for me. She went from being only concerned about returning home and fixing her family to realizing that there were more important things to focus on. She really became one of my favorite characters this time around, doesn’t hurt that she’s a skilled computer hacker either. It was nice to finally see her open her eyes and see beyond her immediate surrounds to what was really going on in the world around her. She’s definitely stronger than she was in the previous novel. I’ll be honest and say that while I still can’t accept that this kids are in fact the age that they are said to be, I liked them more by the end of this book than I did in the first one.

Pacing-wise, there is a lot more action in this story, so the story read faster for me and kept me more engaged. It also kept me on the edge of my seat most of the time. I wanted to know what was going to happen to everyone at the end of each chapter. Were they all going to make it to their destination? Were they going to be able to save Logan’s sister Lily? What was Acheron? These questions and more were begging to be answered, and at the end of the story Angler did a great job in answer most of them. Not all of them, but enough to leave me satisfied and wanting to read book 3. Yes, this book was a step up from the previous one in regards to action and suspense.

In short, out of the two book in the series, this one is my favorite so far.

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Posted on May 8, 2013, in Book Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Sara’s Reviews of Swipe & Sneak by Erin Angler.

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