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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review: Icons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl

That Day, the world ended. Mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters, sons, all dead. But it takes a lot to break humanity's spirit. There are those that survived, and from the survivors, a few will rise to fight the invaders. Aliens, Lords, faceless beings belonging to a species different from us. Powerful, ruthless. This is the story of four people who rose to become humanity's hope.

Title: Icons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher (Thanks Isa!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.

6/6. It was the day the world ended. 1 billion people died, including Dol's family. Their hearts stopped beating and she was left crying in her crib, losing her family when she was just a year old. Now Dol lives with the Mission as a Grass girl, supposedly ordinary and plain, but Dol is aware that she's different, despite living under fear of the Icons and the Lords, once called Aliens, that has invaded the planet. Dol's life started changing on the day of her seventeenth birthday, and she found that she's not the only one with peculiar abilities. There are others. An ambassador's son drawing out love from anyone and everyone, her best friend who is constantly consumed by rage, an orphan female soldier eliciting fear from all, and together, they might be able to change the fate of the world. But what are they and what can they do?

This is my first Margaret Stohl book and she just hooked me in with the way she tells the story. Dol's point of view wasn't the easiest views to read of as she is Sorrow personified, and she constantly feels a havoc of emotions at any given time it's hard to pick out which ones were her own emotions or if it was those around her. Sifting through Dol's thoughts and emotions was, however, quite a challenge but there's something in the easygoing, straight forward style of Margaret Stohl that attracts a reader and before you know it, you're 100 pages in and still you want more. Dol as a protagonist isn't that bad, and the burden she carries, the lives that were lost and yet she lives, her struggle to convince herself that there's more to her than being a Grass girl, is an occupying point in the book that gives her depth. Her connection to Ro was one of the highlights of the book, and I feel all sorts of emotions whenever they connect. The binding, and the eventual change, that it wasn't just Ro, that there's also Lucas. That maybe instead of calming Rage, she can feel Love and distinguish that it's real.

Despite the dystopian feel of the book, the very few moments reserved for romance were something positive to cling to. It felt like there was so much more to the binding, that old feeling of connecting two hearts despite the very modern world.

I can't say I loved both Ro and Lucas' but they are certainly from opposite ends of the spectrum personality wise and it's fun and interesting to see them clash, pushing each others buttons and see which one's temper will give out first. Lucas' held so much charm but it's either one was so kind it was unbelievable and the other was so mischievous it's hard to think of him as nice. I would like to know more about Ro though, because where Lucas was seen as a boy whose very power illicit love yet unloved by those who matters, Ro was just known for his fury and the raging fire inside him. I did, however, love Tima. Her existence got me so very curious, like a walking contradiction for being such a spiteful person initially and gradually becoming this smart, capable, crafty person and still be able to personify fear.

There's a certain appeal in the premise that in the face of humanity's potential extinction, there are four people who will save us all, four teenagers whose paths will eventually cross and then learn how to utilize their potential. Margaret Stohl was able to sell this point to me well as the intricacies in the powers of all four were presented neatly. Sorrow, Love, Rage and Fear. It makes you think how these powers will be able to stop the Earth's invasion. Modern technology against people who can manipulate emotions? That peculiar idea makes you want to read how it all pans out. Icons takes you in a world destroyed by faceless Gods, with mankind broken and struggling to band together to destroy that which was deemed indestructible. Amidst the invasion, you see how mankind managed to survive, how society was shaped in the face of tragedy and shown through those in the Embassy, the Revenants, the Mission, the Grass people, the Rebellion. The disparity of life, the abuse of power. Mankind was used to living free, and Margaret Stohl was able to drive home what it's like to be a slave and serve under a master powerful enough to kill everyone, to be at their mercy.

As much as this was an entertaining read, I still felt that some of the parts of the story and its execution fell a little short and disconnected at some point. It was jumpy at places where you wonder how some things happened, and this was where a story written in third person becomes tricky as there are quite a number of perspectives to cover and there is a potential to get lost at some point if a reader doesn't pay attention. I would have preferred seeing and feeling the Lords some more and make their existence a little more concrete.

Despite the quirks and faults, it's undeniable that Icons is an enjoyable read. Sorrow, Rage, Love and Fear, four emotions that will eventually be felt by the readers as they gobble this book. An unusual, futuristic read of a world gradually being devoured by forces seemingly unstoppable. Humankind's resiliency in the face of hopelessness is palpable in this novel, and its what gives Icons a riveting edge to its story. There are those who fight to keep this world ours and there are those who conspire to destroy it and this particular point adds the mysterious feel to Icons. It's not merely a story of four teenagers who will save the world, but a futuristic tale of lives lost and unexpected love despite the dire situations each character faces.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
A critical factor for me liking how the book ended was the way Lucas hedged all throughout. What is this irrational behavior and why does it have such a place in the story? The struggle to pick sides is understandable but it felt like despite his faults, he was still reinvented as the charismatic boy who suddenly became fearful and then still manage to end up as the good one. It felt so unfair for Ro.
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
Amazing cover, huh?


  1. Haven't gotten the chance to read this one just yet. But I haven't read any bad reviews on Icons! Can't wait to see what everyone is talking about!

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    1. Give it a try, Lisa! Tell me what you think :)

  2. The opening sentence of the summary is chilling. This summary is something else. Thank you for sharing this review. I will keep an eye out for this book.

    My website: Psychologist Doctorate


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