Cover Lust: Beautiful eye-catching cover! It’s got purple, blue, a little gold, a cosmic city backdrop, and of course, a Black Swan-esque ballerina. The only thing I want is more costume detail. Is it shiny, glittery, or have sequins? What about the shoes and stage makeup? I like seeing outfits that really represent the character. Davis looks pretty generic; she’s actually portrayed by a stock photo that has been used on other book covers (like Tiny Pretty Things).
Back Blurb: 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 things that can save her world…
The Book: First I have to say, I received an Advanced Reader Copy from a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway! I love giveaways!
To be honest, the reason I clicked Enter on this giveaway is because there’s a ballerina on the cover. I’m obsessed with ballet. I read the description afterwards and thought it sounded pretty confusing, but who cares, it’s about ballet! Well, not completely, but there are many deliciously sweet drops of dance in most of Davis’s scenes. But if you’re not a balletomane, don’t worry, this is not a ballerina story. It’s more of a Dystopian/Sci-Fi/Romeo and Juliet story, similar to Mystic City.
The Plot: Around the year 2137, the city of Columbus, Ohio is divided into two groups: the Priors and the Imps. Priors are a superior population created by genetic engineering. Parents “design” their children down to their looks, talents, and abilities. They regularly take enhancers that sharpen hearing, heighten awareness, strengthen muscles, etc. They also keep Priors’ minds in check, making sure they practice reason and don’t break laws. Geneserians, or Imperfects, are those who have been born naturally with no genetic enhancements. Priors believe Imps are dangerous because they have no ways of controlling crime or disease. Imps are used by the Priors as their working class, but they are forced to live in the surrounding wasteland called the Slants. Priors are forbidden from fraternizing with Imps; kissing, dating, or marrying an Imp would result in severe punishment.
Davis Morrow’s father is running for Columbus Prime Minister, working toward total segregation of Imps. His opponent, Parson Abel, is the current CPM and wants integration. Abel illegally runs the FEUDS, a sick and deadly underground fighting ring where Priors bet on Imps. He blackmails one of his most popular fighters, Cole, into posing as a Prior and getting romantically involved with Davis. If Davis is caught with an Imp, her father will lose the election and Abel will win.
Cole is determined to complete his mission and collect his money so he can advance in the FEUDS. He knows Abel is using him, but he’s desperate to win the prize money from the final rounds. Winning means Cole can help his family escape the Slants and have a chance at a real life. So he tracks down Davis, not knowing she is the daughter of a politician. Cole is sexy and mysterious, and Davis is instantly drawn to him. He doesn’t expect to feel the same. Their sudden bliss is interrupted when one of Davis’s friends becomes violently ill. Fatal ailments such as cancer and AIDS have been wiped out, so Priors never get sick. Davis knows something is seriously wrong. Cole helps the girl, but she tragically dies from a horrible disease called Narxis. The Priors refuse to acknowledge the disease, so those who suffer from it don’t recognize the symptoms until it’s too late. Eventually all Priors will become infected and die. When several of Davis’s friends go missing, she discovers the deadly secret and turns to Cole, the only person who can help her.
Davis doesn’t know Cole is an Imp, and Cole cares too much for her to tell her the truth. It would break her heart. As they fall deep in love, Cole tries to pull out of the deal with Abel. But Abel threatens his family. Cole can’t just walk away from Davis now. Davis reaches out to her father for help, but her attempts to spread the word about Narxis are thwarted. She stumbles upon some shocking secrets about her family and Parson Abel, putting both her life and Cole’s in danger. They can both be killed for their forbidden love, so they have nowhere to turn but to each other.
Davis: Although her family is extremely wealthy, Davis is quite humble. She loves the Columbus social scene, but she’s not quite a party girl. From time to time she gets into some innocent trouble with her best friend Vera, but she knows where to draw the line because her behavior can affect her father’s political career. Sadly, Davis’s mother died during childbirth. Her stepmother is caring and loves Davis like her own, but Davis can’t help but feel a void. Her mother was an esteemed ballerina and Davis had been engineered to take on after her. She loves to dance, but the constant pressure of her mother’s legacy looms over her.
Cole: Like Davis, Cole also grew up without a parent. His father died when he was young and he wants more than anything to get out himself and his family out of the Slants. He is smart, strong, and blessedly handsome. Taking care of his mother is his first priority, so he participates in FEUDS solely for her welfare. He doesn’t believe in the sick and twisted mentality behind the FEUDS, but his only way of getting out is winning. Initially he hates the Priors, as most Imps do. When he falls for Davis, he realizes Priors are not his true enemies. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to save her, even if it costs him his life.
What’s Next: Feuds delivers all the way through, leaving us hanging desperately with a shocking ending. I can easily see this series becoming the next big thing in Dystopian YA. Everything about this book is stunning: the futuristic setting (Computerized touch-screen walls? Yes!), the plot, the likable characters, and the passionate romance. The story is told in a third-person dual narrative; Davis’s POV in one chapter and Cole’s the next. This double perspective keeps you interested because it offers the story from a guy’s POV as well as a girl’s. YA is heavily concentrated with females as leads, so this style is particularly alluring.
Feuds is preceded by a novella, Rival (#0.5), which gives us a glimpse of forbidden love before Davis meets Cole. The sequel, Torn (#2), will tell us if Davis and Cole can save the Priors from Narxis and stay together, despite the odds that are against them. Can true love really conquer all, or will their worlds come crashing down?
What did you think of Feuds? Sound off in the comments below!