Here's a description of the book from Goodreads:
"In the first book of the new futuristic dystopian series from author Lisa T. Bergren, the chosen remnants must work to redirect humanity’s course.
The year is 2095. Gifted teens known as Remnants have been chosen and trained to act as humanity’s last hope to rectify the horrors that are now part of everyday life.
The Community has trained these teens as warriors and assigned them Knights of the Last Order as protectors. Together, they are a force that will be difficult to bring down.
But the Sons of Sheol, of course, are determined to do just that. As the Remnants begin their mission to course-correct humanity by saving and protecting key individuals, their enemies move to stop them, placing the entire world in peril.
Bestselling author Lisa T. Bergren presents the first book in her new YA futuristic dystopian series—The Remnants Novels—fitting in with the current dystopian trend in the marketplace."
For those who love young-adult reads with a heaping helping of action, suspense, and romantic tension, this first book in the "Remnants" series delivers. Bergren's talent for penning an engaging story can't be denied, and I zipped through the first half of this book in one rather late night. I admire the creativity involved in creating this series, as well as the variety of characters and settings. For me, though, not everything came together in a fluid way.
First, I'm confused as to where the story is taking place. We've got forests, deserts, a monastery, palaces, a glimpse of the ocean... Some elements reminded me of the Middle East; some reminded me of the United States. Basically, I didn't really feel grounded, and the fact that the story zoomed from one place to the next didn't really help me connect with the settings and the diverse people groups who populate them.
And I think that really was a huge problem for me - a lack of connection with the characters. Don't get me wrong! I was intrigued by the Ailith, and I appreciated the emphasis on community (as well as the sweet friendships and romances blooming). But only being inside one character's head (Andriana's) limited my sympathy for the other Remnants and Knights. I would have loved the chance to get to know the other main characters on a deeper level, and I think that would really have broadened the emotional scope of the story. Also, as much as I adore romantic tension, I got a little frustrated with the strange pseudo romances seeming to occur between Andriana and several of the male characters at one point or another. Not to mention that the Community is seriously setting their Remnants and Knights up for failure by pairing a male and a female up as children and then forbidding them to fall in love! Seriously...
The story has plenty of danger and interesting situations, but I was left confused by the overarching plot. Where is Pacifica in relation to the reader's time? What is up with the two princes? How does all of this affect the whole earth, and how did things get to be this way? While there is some explaining, there just wasn't enough to make me really care about the world's fate (as presented in the book) or contemplate what the book has to say about where we're headed. It felt almost more fantasy than dystopian.
The fantasy feel is only compounded by the sort of "mystical" elements. With references to the Maker, I realize that the gifts of the Ailith are supposed to be more spiritual, bestowed on the characters by the Creator. But Andriana's gift, in particular, didn't really come across as strong empathy so much as an ability to "probe" another's feelings, as she's constantly talking about "reaching out" to other people to try to read what they're thinking/experiencing.
Basically, Season of Wonder is an interesting beginning to the series, and perhaps with some more background and stronger characterization the series can come together in a clearer and deeper way. As it is, the first book left me with more questions and frustrations than I'd prefer.
*With thanks to Zonderkidz and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*
Note: Remnants: Season of Wonder releases April 8, 2014.