After finishing Uninvited, the first thought that came to mind is “I don’t know anything about James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann or any of that Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report. All I know is that this is a cross between Mean Girls x Twilight x Divergent.” And I’m not sure if that is good for Uninvited’s reputation. As for me, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I want to.
Being the first book in a duology series, Uninvited is a futuristic story where Earth Nations are on the verge of collapsing due to the increasing number of people who are HTS (Homicidal Tendency Syndrome) carriers. Davina a.k.a Davy, our main protagonist, is a music prodigy and has lived a sheltered life ever since she was born. Everything was perfect in her life until the day that she was diagnosed positive for HTS. Her boyfriend and bestfriend ditched her, her parents are scared of her and her chance of a bright future in Juilliard is suddenly gone.
Uninvited’s premise is not only interesting but also unique. Imagine how much easier it would be to protect this world from sociopaths if there’s an existing technology to detect them before they become one. Alas, my friends, what we currently have is the highly unreliable MacDonald triad which until now is under severe criticisms. But if I am to compare it with Jordan’s method of detecting HTS, I think I’d rather go for the MacDonald triad in terms of rationality. You see, the first glaring flaw that immediately struck me when I dove into Uninvited was that it didn’t give any solid account as to why HTS became prevalent in the society. Nor it offered any enlightenment as to the exact science behind the detection of the kill gene. Now if you’re a nitpick about genetics then this may not be the book for you because trust me, all Jordan was able to do was tell us that the society detects HTS by DNA testing. After that, nada. She didn’t even offer an elaborate explanation as to what is in the genetic makeup of the HTS carrier that makes him/her a killer. It’s different with the MacDonald Triad because instead of genetics, it explained the possible causes of sociopathy in terms of three behaviours: firesetting, animal cruelty and enuresis. But with Uninvited, the author just expects us to take anything at face value. >,<
I must admit, however, that even if my reading experience was ruined by the ambiguity of the sci-fi aspect of Uninvited, I was still entertained. The story moved in a regular pace accounting Davy’s day-to-day struggle as a branded killer. It was fascinating to follow her misery…of how quickly she became one of the most unwanted girl in their town when previously, she was everyone’s beloved musical princess. And most importantly, it was terrifying and enthralling at the same time to see the world in chaos because of HTS…families being torn apart, friends becoming enemies, and rational humans behaving like animals by treating those HTS carriers as though the latter are savages instead of individuals that needed compassion and serious treatment.
The romance was also done well and remained as a side story. Though the plot was admittedly simplistic, it did make for a good read especially with some disturbing and gory scenes thrown in the way.
And should I mention that both parents of the MC are alive and kicking? Following the development of their relationship as a family was really an awkward experience for me because Davy had been the favourite child but everything got complicated when she turned positive for HTS.
In terms of characterization, Uninvited did fairly well. Except for the MC, I have no problem connecting with the characters. IMO, Davy is a character that is hard to like. She’s full of hypocrisy and judgment against her fellow carriers. And then she would pretend like she’s some kick ass heroine and only end up getting saved by Sean. As. In. Always. I am really hoping that she’ll change for the better in book 2. Speaking of her love interest, Sean, that’s another story. I like the guy even if there are still a lot of things that I don’t know about him. He’s mysterious, confident, a true gentleman (despite the bad boy façade) and an aegis. And he’s one of the reasons why I will be reading the sequel. I am interested to know what his real story is.
Uninvited’s world building also needs some improvement. For the most part of the story, I always thought that the events are happening on the present when it’s clearly set some time in the future based on the HTS news snippets. No wonderful or CGI-ish imagery here, guys.
All in all, Uninvited—with its numerous flaws—is easily deserving of a negative rating if one lets her/his calculator side of personality win. As for me, I really enjoyed this one and thus, the 3 star rating. I would recommend Uninvited to all those who are willing to overlook the various flaws I’ve mentioned or to those who are looking for something unique. And together, let’s pray that Sophie Jordan will do a better job with book 2.
What do you think?
***An ARC of this book was provided freely by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, HarperTeen and Harper Collins!***