This review is part of the Juniper Grove Book Solutions tour for The Woodlands. I received a copy of The Woodlands free for an honest review from Juniper Grove Book Solutions.
Book: The Woodlands
Publish Date: August 30th, 2013
Word Count: approx. 92,000
Author: Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Morality Rating: PG-13 (violence)
Readability Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Dystopian sci-fi
Rosa never thought she’d make it to sixteen…
When being unique puts you in danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death, you might find yourself fighting to survive. Sixteen-year-old Rosa lives in one of the eight enclosed cities of The Woodlands. Where the lone survivors of a devastating race war have settled in the Russian wilderness because it’s the only scrap of land left habitable on the planet. In these circular cities, everyone must abide by the law or face harsh punishment. Rosa’s inability to conform and obey the rules brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she meets Joseph. He’s blonde, fair-skinned, green-eyed, and the laid-back complete opposite of Rosa. She’s never met anyone quite like him, and she knows that spells danger.
But differences weren’t always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most treasured of traits to have. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a ‘raceless’ race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any anomalies must be destroyed.
The Superiors are unstoppable and can do anything they want. After all, they are considered superheroes by the general public. But not everyone sees them this way. When they continue to abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed to make friends even she didn’t know she had. And one man will stop at nothing to save her.
About the Author
Lauren Nicolle Taylor is a 33-year-old mother living in the tiny, lush town of Bridgewater on the other side of the world in Australia. She married her high school sweetheart and has three very boisterous and individual children. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with Honours in Obstetrics and Gynecology and majored in Psychology while minoring in Contemporary Australian Writing.
After a disastrous attempt to build her dream house that left her family homeless, She found herself inexplicably drawn to the computer. She started writing, not really knowing where it may lead but ended up, eight weeks later, with the rough draft of The Woodlands.
In 2013, Lauren Nicolle Taylor accepted a publishing contract with Clean Teen Publishing. Her first published novel, The Woodlands, was released on August 30, 2013. Currently, Lauren has finished her manuscript for the second book in the series titled: The Wall, as well as partially completed the third book in the series which at this time is unnamed.
From the first few sentences I read in this book, I knew I would love it. The Woodlands was a breath of fresh air to my book-loving brain. From start to finish, this book had me engaged and breathless to find out what happened next.
Plot: I thought I knew what would happen in the plot for The Woodlands, and ultimately, most of what I thought would happen eventually did. However, the process of getting in there had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing and questioning myself the entire time. Unlike some books, I had no confidence that Lauren Taylor would keep any topic sacred or any character safe. I like that from a plot.
Characters: In many dystopian stories that I have read, the characters seem fine with all of the hardships that have happened to them. The Woodland’s characters were different. Their traumas left scars, which made them feel more real. I felt more strongly for the characters in this story than I have for a long time.
Setting: I liked the setting for this book. The entire story takes place, from what I could gather, about 200-300 years into the future. Civilization is contained to small circular villages consisting of different rings. The wilderness was allowed to grow wild around the cities. I spent most of the book thinking the characters were in South America, but they were actually in Russia the whole time. So, all of the landscape I imagined was wrong for most of the book.
Writing: I really loved the writing style for this book. I thought the imagery was somewhat poetic without being over the top. In some places, the writing felt a little strained or choppy, perhaps, but the rest of the writing more than made up for it. I have found that I actually prefer books that have less dialogue, and this book is one that has a lot of internal thoughts and passages without much speaking between characters.
This is one of my favorite books that I have read this year. It was an emotional read for me, which makes it a good story in my book. I look forward to reading anything else that Lauren Taylor decides to write- whether it is in this universe or another.
Enter the Giveaway!
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
GRAND PRIZE: Print copy of The Woodlands, bookmark, surprise Clean Teen Publishing swag gift, and reader’s choice of two digital Clean Teen Publishing books.
GRAND PRIZE: $10 Electronic Amazon Gift Card, The Woodlands bookmark, surprise Clean Teen Publishing swag gift, and reader’s choice of two digital Clean Teen Publishing books.