My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was provided for free via Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Romy is a dystopian drama along the lines of Hunger Games, though the stories are very different. Romy follows the main character, Romy Fifty-Two, along her life as a prisoner until she is auctioned off to the highest bidder. The last thing she wants is to end up sold to a Soren terrorist and used as a baby-making machine, yet what happens to her is far more complicated than that.
Nirina Stone crafts a believable world where the richest survived by climbing into their literal towers, while the other Citizens climbed beneath the ground. Then there are the Sorens, the mysterious terrorists revered and despised by the others who bomb clothing factories and kidnap indentured Citizens.
The titular character is a pleasure to follow, at least for the first half of the book. She is smart and adaptable despite her heart condition and she always fights when she is cornered rather than backing down. She is inquisitive and sharp with an interest in robotics and though she can be arrogant, she is open to change.
If we’re going down the comparisons to Katniss Everdeen road, Romy is a slightly less fleshed out version of her. She does take a more active role in her liberation than Katniss did; she does not need to come out kicking and screaming. Yet there’s a darkness to Romy that you don’t see as much elsewhere.
Though I enjoyed this relatively short book and swallowed it down in just a couple of days, I was less than enamoured with the last quarter of the story. It seemed to become unfocused and though the progress was rapid, it did not make me feel invested in any of the characters; not even Romy towards the end. It touched on some interesting philosophical and ethical concepts and then abandoned them at the last minute, leaving me unfulfilled.
If you are looking for a quick and pleasant read with a believable world this summer you should check out Romy by Nirina Stone, but don’t expect to be swept off your feet. As it’s the first in a series I remain hopeful the story will flesh out further as time goes on.