This book is well written, well proofread, well plotted but so miserably dark and depressing that I just can't give it the rating it deserves. I do not think the dystopia is very believable because there is so much unexplained. Where does the food come from? Why can't they grow some? Why is the countryside off limits? Who's making all the trash they live in? What's happening in the remainder of the world? The entire world of the story does not seem to be as big as a single township. Maybe some of these things are explained in later books of the series. Not only is the environment so mean, but the people are too. They can't show affection, can't be nice, and that's with their friends and family. There is no real explanation for the side taken by the second and third characters in the story.
The plot is a pretty girl who's mind has been erased waking up in a metal coffin in an environment that reminds me of the Mexico City dump but is called an 'outpost'. It is ruled by a warlord and during the story it is attacked by another warlord from a different outpost. There are big robot policemen around, but they are quite stupid and do more harm than good.
The story is more character driven than plot driven however. There is a lot of time spent with the main character's thoughts, which are actually pretty realistic for someone her age (18). Her biggest concern was for a young boy which seemed a little more intense than normal, almost to the point of obsession. If he was her own child, I could see it.
While I don't understand why someone would write something so depressing, I do understand why people read it. Our society seems to have a deathwish. It seems like we are all convinced the future is this bleak and there is nothing we can do about it, but there is. All we need to do is raise the top income tax bracket back to 91% as it was when the country was 'great' so we can rebuild our infrastructure. We need to inhibit the free flow of capital so our corporations can no longer export our jobs to countries where workers are the most exploited. We need to regulate the internet so it doesn't spread lies as fact, convince white males to get over their relative loss of status and begin to prepare for the billion climate refugees who will be migrating toward the poles this century. It is the division between rich and poor, not right and left or black and white that is ruining our way of life.
(review of free book)