Book Review: Icons by Margaret Stohl

Title: Icons (Icons #1)
By: Margaret Stohl
Author Info: Website | TwitterGoodreads
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre Type:
Dystopia, Aliens, Romance
Publication Date: May 7th 2013
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers        
Pages: 428 pages
Source: Borrowed


Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future. Summary and image: Goodreads.

“The Lords didn’t come here from the heavens to save us. They came from some faraway solar system to colonize our planet, on The Day. We don’t know what they look like inside their ships, but they’re not angels.”

The Setting and Summary: Icons is the first book in a new series by Margaret Stohl that combines fascinating elements of Sci-fi and Dystopia with Romance. Icons is set in a near future Los Angeles. An alien invasion by a force known as the Icon has been sent to colonize the Earth, causing mass destruction world-wide, and has nearly destroyed the Earth’s population.

When best friends Dol and Ro are captured and taken to the Embassy, they meet fellow hostages Tima and Lucas. As the teens get to know one another, they realize that they are more alike than it would seem. These four gifted teens, each with their own unique abilities, must learn to work together in order to help save themselves and possibly the future of humankind. Brought together in conspiracy, the teens join forces and learn to harness their powers in order to escape. But first, they must solve the mystery of their past-the mystery behind the Icon Children.

"Nobody calls them alien anymore, because they aren’t. They’re familiar. We never see them, but we’ve never known a world without them... I grew up thinking they were angels because back on The Day they sent my parents to heaven."

My First Thoughts: One of the first elements that caught my attention is how the author Margaret Stohl gave the book a unique Dystopian feel to it with plenty of descriptions and background information. I also enjoyed the references she gave to early Californians, namely about the Chumash and Rancheros, and later the People of the Grass, a new tradition. I thought this gave a wonderful background for Dol and Ro to belong to, and made the Dystopian setting seem more authentic. Something tangible that they came from and lost. Something they wanted to take back from The Lords and the Icons.

Characters: Out of all the characters, Dol the main character and narrator of the story, was my favorite. For me, she was easy to feel connected to and I admired her strength and loyalty. Ro's character was also wonderful. He was a complete opposite of Dol, where as Dol tried to hold everything in, Ro was full of life and passion. There was just this amazing connection between Dol and Ro that you felt, more than friendship, almost like two people bound to one another. Later on in the story we meet Lucas, the Ambassadors son. I have to tell you that I just didn't feel much of a connection for him until the very end of Icons. And I had a really had a hard time "feeling" what Dol was feeling when she was around him. I felt it just didn't compare to what was naturally between Dol and Ro. This was a pretty big downer for me.  One of the last teen characters we get to know is Tima, and I thought she was a unique addition to the story. When you first meet Tima, well-lets just say you probably won't like her much. She has a connection to Lucas, much like Dol and Ro have. Yes, it becomes not a love triangle but a Quadrilateral! But  by the end of the story, I thought Tima was great and I really enjoyed seeing her overcome some of her fears and her new connection with Dol and Ro. I felt that out of all the characters, she probably has the most personal growth in the story.

I also enjoyed a couple of surprise secondary characters, and thought that they rounded out the story nicely.There was the Padre a wonderfully sweet and soulful man, who acted as a fatherly sort of figure to Dol and Ro.  Giving the reader some comic relief was Ramona the Pig-yes pig, and "Doc" who's unique voice added much needed humor to the story. Last but not least, was Fortis who is much more than he seems. A brilliant mastermind, who I hope to see much more of in later books.

Swoon Level: Crush. You have four teens, each with their own unique emotions/abilities, that come into play in Icons.

The Romance: There is definitely a love triangle going between Dol, Ro and Lucas. Lots of intense emotions come into play.

Swoon Quote: Between Dol, Ro, and Lucas.

Dol: I close my eyes and feel the two current clashing so strongly that I stumble. I open my eyes-to see Lucas disappearing down the aisle that leads to the library exit. I don't know why or what I am doing, but before I know it I am running down the aisle after him. Ro doesn't follow me.

    "Dol! If you-"

    If you take his side.

    If you leave me for him.

    If it-this-we change-

He doen't have to say the words. I feel the reddening fury, directed at Lucas, me, the universe, but he doesn't move.

What I Liked: I really enjoyed reading about the Icon Children's Mythology and thought it was a unique and fascinating concept. It was great discovering what each of the four main characters “uncontrollable emotions” were, and seeing the characters turn what they thought as a weakness into something greater. For me, the best part of Icons was witnessing the transformation of each of the characters as they learned how to channel their emotions into a positive manner, becoming something of incredible strength that the Lords would fear.

What I Wished It Had More Of: I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't much information about The Lords and their background. It felt like something was missing because that part of the book was so vague. I would have liked to know more about them and actual interaction with the mysterious Lords.

The End: Although the ending came on a little abrupt, everything was wrapped up nicely and set the stage for further development of the storyline in the next book. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, and hope my feelings and thoughts for Lucas change. Fans of Dystopian and Sci-fi should enjoy the unique premiss of Margaret Stohl's Icons.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars. I liked it.


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