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ARC Review: Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Title: Glitch
Story Arc: Series, Book 1
Publication: August 7, 2012 by St. Martin's Press
Paperback: 371 pages
Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy, Dystopia, Paranormal Romance
Age Group: Teen, Young Adult
Source: St. Martin's Press via Netgalley
Excerpt(s): from 31% in e-reader
Content: Sexual Exploration, Violence, Kissing, Implicit Death

I felt it coming this time...

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.
Glitch by Heather Anastasiu is set in a seemingly idyllic, harmless community of warm-blooded, breathing chip implants who live on cold logic and unshakeable serenity, free of emotions and vibrancy and the simplest of human connections. Zoel thinks she’s got problems when she starts glitching, but, truthfully, any world in which I wouldn’t be capable of expressing my passionate reception of YA young men everywhere—and partaking in other fangirl-esque activities—is really no world at all. At least not one I would survive in for long.

Survival is exactly what Zoel fears; or, more accurately, her frighteningly slim chances of surviving each day while sporadically ‘waking up’ throughout the course of her time literally awake is what terrifies her. Detection is inevitable when no one around you grows scared, gets sweaty with nerves, and randomly spaces out. And when it appears our girl, Zoel, is being specifically and almost imperceptibly monitored. Is this a sudden unplanned mockery of the system or an elaborate test?

Let’s put aside our obvs creepy-chills at the thought of being acutely watched by some unseen, unidentified party (who would undoubtedly be rockin’ the suspicious-looking bowl hat), and dig into this frightened teenager trying to adapt to the violent back-and-forth transition she undergoes and the girl beneath all the terror.

For someone jolted into a new perception of the world with flashes of color and panic, nerves and wistfulness, Zoel certainly knows how to play it cool and maintain the act. Yet, it’s so very clear there are subtleties in her mannerisms and expressions that could give her away nearly immediately, and I easily migrated into that position of fear and anxiety for her. I didn’t quite know what was going on or who was out to get our main character; all I knew was that buckets of poop would surely hit the metaphorical fan turned on way too high if Zoel’s secret was exposed. Using unforeseen dangers painted by Zoel’s keen distress to grip us, Anastasiu mounts the tension with the barest page increase. Pencil me in under impressed.

“As much as I might not like it, lies and secrets were my way of life now.”

Zoel is a compassionate, fairly astute artist who wants very little from life. Having her wants and outcomes previously dictated to her while she’s residing in a dreary underground area doesn’t inspire much dreaming and desires. Besides, she’s busy enough with her panicked surveillance of her surroundings. But, because she has essentially been sleeping all this time, the book flies at a pace in which Zoel’s innate personality traits can surface and gives her room to develop others based on a giant burst of exciting and thrilling experiences. Within a span of a few months, loneliness and longing, affection and truth, attraction and lust, love and friendship, thrill and terror and betrayal, are all added to her store of no longer dormant and dull emotions and memories so that she has to frantically attempt to absorb it all.

Although I wasn’t overly fond of the romance, particularly how a secondary character is integrated into the story with Anastasiu’s utilization of the Tried and Dreaded Love Triangle plot device, the first half of Glitch by Heather Anastasiu is the stronger of the whole. That’s where are all the Stick It to the Man action kicks off, with Zoel escaping her place in the system and letting herself be led into the heart of the mysterious Resistance by a young, gorgeous, tech-savvy, future-seeing young man who’s unquestionably trust-worthy. Though Zoel’s time spent aboveground with this stranger is short, he exudes that unexplainable likability. Their romance is not all-the-way instalove; I’d dub it insta-attraction, and, based off of my fond reception of his character, it’s believable enough so that you’re caught up in the now Zoe’s whirlwind initiation into the woes and delights of first love.

Did I buy into an enigmatic government/corporate stronghold meticulously dominating the planet with widespread mind control of civilians? Since I’m someone who can generally immerse myself in the world-building quickly, and given all the foreboding and fear implemented in Zoe’s narration, I didn’t pluck at any loose strings, if there were any, because I didn’t notice them. I was caught up enough in Zoe’s fight for love, friendship, the welfare of her family, and freedom to really pay attention and embrace any latent nitpicky tendencies.

If you’re not so effortlessly convinced and easily distracted, then, in that respect, Glitch by Heather Anastasiu might not be for you. My main criticisms of the book would have to be geared more toward the second half of the novel, where loose ends are snipped and tied too hastily, where the biggest reveal isn’t very impactful, and where the love triangle goes deliberately awry by cutting an easy way out for that annoying secondary character. Still, all that aside, Glitch by Heather Anastasiu is still enjoyable, and garnered plenty of my attention to have me keep an eye out for the sequel, Override.
"Experiencing the world through your eyes, feeling your first emotions with you." He shook his head in wonder. "You were the first beautiful thing I'd seen after a couple of really dark years. You made me realize I'd taken for granted how beautiful life can be..." (31%)
Rating: Sud-Kissed

IN LESS WORDS: Glitch by Heather Anastasiu is an adequately interesting dystopian novel—not mind-blowing but plenty engaging, especially when you consider how overrun the YA market is with dystopia. The story is narrated by a girl called Zoel, later Zoe, who must continue her uniform involvement in society despite her abruptly glitching hardware and help bring an end to the world she's known. Glitch by Heather Anastasiu reads like a cross between the film The Matrix and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium; though the story is not nearly as great as either, those familiar elements make it pleasantly readable. I enjoyed Glitch by Heather Anastasiu for it’s quick pace, sympathetic heroine, and fairly believable dystopia, as well as that fun dose of sci-fi!

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Got something specific in mind? Dare I believe I might NOT have covered something you wish to know? If so, let me know down in the comments section. Food for thought: if you were to glitch, what's one emotion(s) you'd be most eager and most terrified to feel?


Shane said...

Wonderful review!

Mindful Musings said...

loose ends are snipped and tied too hastily, where the biggest reveal isn’t very impactful, and where the love triangle goes deliberately awry by cutting an easy way out for that annoying secondary character."

Hmm...those are all things that would bother me, but with the right world-building and storytelling, I could probably get past them. And Glitch DOES intrigue me. Maybe a library book? Lol.

Thanks for the review! :)

Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

Great, detailed review Asher! This book had a bit of a bumpy ride with me, mostly because of the characters. Like you said, I think this book will be better suited to those who are easily convinced. I doubt I'll be picking up the sequel myself, but if you ever decide to review it, I look forward to seeing what you think. :)

Lisa! said...

Love the new little "in less words" box. Such a cool idea!

I'm still on the fence about this one. And after your review, I think I remain on the fence. Which is fine because you know what it's like to have a million books to read as it is!

P E said...

Glitch sounds good, but I am kinda hesitant because I was recently really let down by a love triangle and I've been avoiding them since. Instalike doesn't interest me either. I still like the premise though, I love rebellion type stories so I'll probably check out Glitch anyway.

Steph said...

Thanks for your honest review, Asher! I've read a few mixed reviews recently so I've been put off a bit from reading it. I think it sounds really neat so I'll be curious to see if it works for me.

P.S. Um, gorgeous layout AGAIN!!! I think this is my favorite of the ones you've had!

Asher Knight said...

Thank you! I really wanted to dig into writing this one since there's so many mixed feelings circulating over it. :)

Asher Knight said...

Those things can be annoying. In Glitch it wasn't overbearing so that I felt so frustrated I threw down the book all together. Try it and let me know what happens!

Asher Knight said...

Thanks, Sam <3 I can definitely see where people will NOT enjoy this book and may get so frustrated with it the good stuff easily becomes mediocre. For me though, I was having too much fun to care.

Maybe the sequel will be so good YOU'LL HAVE to read it. :-D

Asher Knight said...

Why, thank you, Lisa <3 *bows* Yes, I have noticed how scarily long my reviews have gotten so I figured this would benefit the people don't like reviews THAT long.

I think if you go into this one not expecting much and ready to just go with the flow, it'll be easier to swallow. And certainly more fun! I had an adventure with this book, and even though I got frustrated at points and wrinkled my nose at others, it wasn't enough to make me drop it. Give it a shot and let me know what the verdict is! :D

Asher Knight said...

It really depends on your reading tastes. If you're very suspicious and less likely to really sink into the story, you'll probably pick at things more than I did. Some things you may find more annoying than I did or irritating where I didn't, but try to go in with an open, relaxed mind and see what happens. I think this is a book that people will either really like or dislike, with no in-between.

Asher Knight said...

That's the whole thing! It just depends on what works for you, what doesn't, what you can ignore or what you typically like. Go in with no expectations and an open mind, and I think you'll enjoy this one too!

PS: THANKS. It took me a grand total of thirty-six hours after picking at every last detail until I couldn't fix it anymore. I'm in love with it too, so it makes me really happy to hear that you do too :-D

Mindful Musings said...

Will do! Eventually...lol. :)