My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Socialpunk delivers on its promise of young adult oriented, dystopian fiction with a love (triange? square? pentagon?) thrown in for good measure. It’s full of teenage angst and all of the other things that make young adult novels so popular right now. With the right marketing, it’s sure to be a hit.
The Good: Socialpunk delivers a fast-paced young adult adventure full of dystopian themes and teenage angst. The world that Leonelle creates is engaging and refreshing. Artists are the economic drivers of the world Cinder stumbles into. Instead of dollars, people earn “clout” from influencing other people and pointing to good content. It’s a physical world modeled off of the internet world of social media. Socialpunk even offers a lengthy commentary on copyright law and its relationship to content producers in a virtual world, proving that young adult literature doesn’t have to be devoid of ideas.
The pace of Socialpunk is fast. The action starts immediately and continues the whole way through. The characters are decently fleshed out, with the exception of the protagonist, but she is still a work in progress in the first volume. Hopefully we will learn more about what really makes her tick in the next two.
The Bad: Cinder is sometimes hard to like. She is full of teenage angst on top of coming from an abusive background. The reader may wonder why she is the heroine because she needs to be rescued so many times. On the other hand, Cinder does grow as a leader during the story. Maybe she will be a stronger heroine in the next installments.
The love story is pretty flat as well. Cinder whines about the guy she wants a lot, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason she would be attached to him because we really don’t know anything about him. I guess the point is that neither does the heroine. Dash is a foil for another relationship that will bud later on, but I wish he were a little more fleshed out in the first book.
The Bottom Line: Socialpunk is a fun read that fans of young adult dystopian fiction will devour.