Series: Project Paper Doll
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Add it: Goodreads
1. Never trust anyone.
2. Remember they are always searching.
3. Don’t get involved.
4. Keep your head down.
5. Don’t fall in love.
Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”
But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple any more, especially not the rules…
I’ve heard that a couple of reviews say that The Rules is The Hunger Games meets The Host. If you have heard that too, and that’s the driving force making you want to pick this book up, I would suggest you take a moment to rethink that plan. The Rules was nothing like The Hunger Games, and overall it was a pretty flat book. There were a few elements that were enjoyable, but all together I was disappointed.
The plot itself was the most disappointing part of this novel. With aliens and science experiments, you have an awesome chance to make something really interesting out of a novel. You can throw in action scenes, shoot-outs, alien powers, epic characters… a whole bunch of stuff! The Rules has a sprinkling of those elements, but not enough to keep me interesting.
I was shocked to find out that this story is told from two POVs – Ariane’s and Zane’s. When I discovered this, I was pleasantly surprised because I tend to really enjoy stories that are told from multiple perspectives. With The Rules, however, I felt it was a bit unnecessary. Sure, you got to know Zane’s character, and the whole revenge plot probably wouldn’t have worked at all without his POV, but I didn’t feel like it added anything to the book as a whole. I would have preferred it if this book was just old from Ariane’s point of view, because that way we could have spent more time with her and Zane would have been more of a mystery.
Ariane was a good protagonist, and there wasn’t anything that I disliked about her. However, she didn’t stand out either. There wasn’t anything unique to distinguish Ariane from the hundreds (thousands?) of average females that are in YA right now. That said, I did like how Ariane stood up for herself and for her friends, even if certain friends didn’t necessarily deserve it. Loyalty is a good trait to have.
Zane, on the other hand, sent me to sleep. I just didn’t enjoy his chapters, and I rushed them a bit to get back to Ariane. Also, before he found out about Ariane and her Martian (not really) ways, he noticed a lot of things about her that he thought was strange. What was really strange, though, was the stuff that he noticed. He noticed that Ariane got a popular phrase – “pull the rug out from under…” – slightly wrong. Ariane said “carpet” instead of “rug”, and Zane homed in on it. I thought it was silly because it could have been a genuine mistake, you know? A lot of teenagers get grammar and phrases wrong. Or she just could have been stupid, how was he to know?
There was a good twist towards the end that shocked me somewhat. I was expecting a twist, but I wasn’t sure what it was going to be. I liked it, and it turned everything upside down.
I am not overly excited for the sequel, since The Rules was kind of a boring read. Plus, I think that it wrapped up well. Obviously not perfectly, since it’s the first in a series, but I think this would have been a great standalone.