***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour via Paper Lantern Lit.
In this breathless story of impossible love, perfection comes at a deadly cost.
For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or “Imps.” A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother’s legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears.
Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he’s a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father’s campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him.
Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold–and Davis’s friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her world…in Avery Hastings’s Feuds.
“This time the kiss was slower, more passionate, and more intense. Her whole body reacted at once: her heartbeat flooded her veins until it felt like it was hammering against every part of her. Her head was empty. She couldn’t think. It was like her body had choreographed a dance with his, something they were experts at even though neither of them knew what would come next.”
Feuds is a spellbinding dystopian rife with political intrigue, intoxicating romance, and the desperate struggle for survival against a genetically segregated hierarchy of injustice.
- Davis has been brainwashed her whole life by her father’s political ideals and the superiority of genetic purity boasted by the Priors. Davis has been informed of the horrible sanitation issues, the imperfections in the Imps physically and genetically, and truly believes that her father, through his stance on segregating the people, will make the world a better place. Despite her upbringing, Davis is a dreamy, romantic girl. She cherishes the image of her mother, and honors her mother’s sacrifice through her poise and grace in ballet. Davis is almost possessed by her dance, every aspect of her life is lived with passion and such wonderful energy and determination. Davis is unafraid to question the harsh realities of the world and when her blinders are lifted, her life comes crashing down around her. Davis recognizes the inequality and the lies, and even though in her heart she hopes for a different reality, she is able to recognize the truth and feels helpless just sitting around not doing anything about it. She has beautiful memories of her childhood and they’re told with such whimsy and light that it’s hard not to appreciate her honest personality.
- Cole is a fighter, literally and figuratively. He puts his body to use, taking his opponents out in the Feuds and earning cash to protect his family. Cole got tangled up with the wrong people and is faced with some seemingly impossible choices but he never gives in and never loses hope. Cole falls and he falls hard, he’s insanely sexy, a little rough around the edges, but his morals are rigid. Cole just has a romantic, devoted way about him that makes him even more desirable. He’s kind, he can’t ignore the dangers in front of him and will help anyone in need regardless of the consequences. He’s a sweetheart.
- Avery Hastings is a master at physical descriptions. The fluidity and grace with which she paints the dance scenes are flawless. The emotions are in sync with Davis’ body movements. It’s a pleasure to read.
- The Feuds are fascinating. The Fight Club atmosphere is full of apprehension, suspense, and danger. The blood and violence is an adrenaline rush, it’s like watching a live boxing match.
- The corruption of the politicians, the cover ups, and the treatment of the Narxis disease are the kind of underhanded drama that adds substantially to the plot. The villains are vile, disquieting human beings that have no moral code or conscience. The way they treat the Imps is disturbing and truly creepy. They manhandle them as if they’re not people and even less than animals.
- Vera is adorable. She’s that feisty BFF with unlimited expenses that comes up with all sorts of fun trouble to get into. She’s caring and full of light quips.
- Cole and Davis together are fire and intensity. Every gaze, every touch is full of heat and longing. It’s chemistry and hot attraction at its finest.
- Deeper insight into the history of the genetic engineering, the natural disasters, and when/what changed as a result of these, in addition to the education process, employment, the distinctions between the Priors and Gens/Imps would have highlighted the division between worlds. In some respects, these dueling lifestyles are vibrant and incredibly detailed, in others, it left a lot unsaid. How the classes make their money, what oppressions specifically apply to each, their opportunities for escape, their roles in other regions, etc., were not really discussed.
- Secondary characters were fleeting, even those who had a large role to play later in the plot were lacking in the finer details and really distinctive personalities, especially in the Imp world (apart from Vera).
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