The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian
Series: Chaos Theory #1
Published by Intermix on March 18th, 2014
Genres: new adult
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A debut author’s darkly suspenseful take on New Adult romance--and a perfect read for fans of Veronica Roth's Divergent. Twenty-two-year-old Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice. If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent. Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random. She doesn’t plan on making friends. She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.
Ughhhh. Is there anything worse than waiting excitedly for MONTHS for a book only for that book to fall flat in every way? I don’t think so. The Wicked We Have Done has so much potential – I mean, look at that premise! Unfortunately, it never, ever lives up to that potential and it is so disappointing.
- The premise. It’s definitely interesting to think about, an obstacle course for convicted criminals used to determine their morality. There are a lot of books coming out in the recent months that deal with morality and genetics and different tests to measure these factors. I liked the idea, and I like the in-prison beginning that set the stage for the rest of the novel.
- The characters’ back stories. I am basically addicted to crime TV, from Investigation Discovery to Law & Order. I can’t get enough of the gory details and I readily admit it’s a little sick. So I found it interesting and intriguing, learning about the characters’ different crimes and motivations.
- Bonus points for this being a New Adult title that isn’t entirely devoted to bad boy romance and angst and awkward sex.
- I felt no connection to any of the characters. It was like there was this window between me and the characters that let me see into their world, but prevented me from actually immersing myself in their world.
- A major lack of urgency. Because of the disconnect with the characters I never really cared when it came to the more intense scenes. Some characters would die, others would be in serious peril, and I never really felt anything. There was no heart-pounding tension or edge-of-your-seat factor for me. I didn’t care at all. Also: a lot of this is because I could just TELL most of the characters would be fine. This didn’t strike me as a kill-your-darlings king of book.
- Clunky writing. There were lots of awkward sentences, and then sometimes some serious grammar fails. At one point “I lied down on my back” came up and I kind of wanted to throw the thing across the room. There were also a ton of sentence fragments that got annoying quickly. On top of that, there were continuity issues. A character who was introduced as tough and angry and a girl not to be fucked with in prison, is later described as a punching bag for other inmates. Maybe these things will be fixed before the final release, but I doubt it since it was so prevalent.
- Lack of focus and direction. This book doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it dystopia? Horror? Romance? All three, and it felt very thinly stretched in all the directions.
- Unsexy sex scene is unsexy. It was actually kinda gross and I felt vaguely voyeuristic. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the characters anyway, so all the ‘sexiness’ felt forced and icky. (But thankfully not in the scary rape-ish icky that most NA has. Phew.)
- Finally, I thought it was strange that they had men and women inside the Compass Rooms (and even go so far as to administer contraceptive injections – which, hello, STDs?) but they still separate by sex in the actual prisons. I don’t know. Not a big deal, but still strange.
This wasn’t a horrible book. It was readable and nothing came up that was rage-inducing. Mostly, it was boring and I felt wholly ambivalent about the characters. I do appreciate the risks the author took for the NA category, but overall I’m just disappointed.