Author: Allyson Gottlieb
Title: Finding North
Series: Compass 1
Genre: Science Fiction (Dystopian)
Rating: Two Petals
On the Author's Website: This book is not available on the author's website.
Sometimes you have to lose everything to find what you’ve really been looking for
Kat and Tyler were childhood sweethearts, inseparable in all things. When he was drafted into the Alliance army, it was only natural that she would join up, too. Then he dies in battle, and Kat is left adrift, with her heart shattered but her life still tied to the Alliance. Going through the motions and fulfilling her obligations is all she has left, until the day her unit gets caught by the enemy.
When Reynan Caverly saves Kat from military prison, the only thing she knows is that his father started the civil war that caused Tyler’s death. Kat is shocked when Reynan takes her to his Las Vegas home, a lavish place in contrast to her impoverished upbringing. Vegas has become a playground for the military elite, and as much of a danger zone as the battlefield. The only way she can stay safe is to rely on Reynan.
As animosity fades and affections grow, Kat and Reynan realize that they have more in common than they first assumed. But in a country decimated by disease and divided by war, nothing comes without a price.
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Overall, the plot to Finding North was well written. It wasn't unique, but I did like Gottlieb's take on it. The world was destroyed by plague and subsequent natural disasters and then split in half by civil war. Kat and Reynan's struggle to survive in the fighting and political machinations was interesting to read, but the story was missing some things that would have elevated it to the next level.
The most glaring omission was the fact that the civil war itself wasn't properly explained. Somewhere in the first few chapters there needed to be a description of who was fighting for what and why. In fact, description as a whole was lacking in the book. Gottlieb gave us a halfhearted description of the setting, but never said what color Kat's hair was. Reynan was described, but only for the purpose of setting him up as handsome and therefore a possible romantic lead.
The characterizations were stereotypical. Every character can be described with one or two words. The bad guy is trigger happy and rude. Reynan's father, the leader of the rebellion, is cold, yet has a kingly bearing. Reynan is sympathetic and gentle, perfect for a romantic partner for Kat, who is strong, yet emotionally weak. There was no depth to any character to make them feel like more than words on paper.
I was also disappointed with the romance. Kat is struggling to get over the loss of Tyler, yet the second she sees Reynan she's instantly in lust. There was no acceptance of her loss or willingness to move on, which made her relationship with Tyler seem weaker than Gottlieb wants readers to believe and diminished the believability of her budding relationship with Reynan.
The plot was interesting, albeit not unique, but it needed more depth and description to really catch my interest. Without those it felt very flat and stereotypical. I am therefore unable to recommend this book and will not be reading any subsequent sequels.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.