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The Rules is a refreshing change from a YA market flooded with books being mislabeled as “dystopian,” “post-apocalyptic,” and so forth. Stacey Kade isn’t trying to reinvent the science-fiction genre with her offering, and readers who go into The Rules expecting a character-oriented, slower-paced novel with a lot of heart will be pleased with Kade’s book, as I was.
Our main characters, Ariane, and Zane, are much more than meets the eye. The dual point of view jarred me a bit at first, but ultimately I think it was a good choice for Kade, since getting to know both characters so personally really helped me get immersed in The Rules. I thought Ariane had a great deal of strength of character, and my heart went out to her regularly throughout The Rules. I appreciated that both she and Zane were complex characters who wanted more out of life than the hands they were dealt.The Rules wasn’t at all what I thought it would be, and while that isn’t strictly a BAD thing, I was hoping for a lot more action, chases, high stakes, and danger than I actually GOT.
I read the synopsis, and so I expected some of the events to take place around/in high school, but I didn’t expect the entire focus of The Rules to be around Ariane in school and trying to fit in. Filled with mean girls, first love, and other teenage experiences, The Rules is very light science-fiction, but still very well-written. However, the fact that it was also more of a character study slowed down The Rules for me, so I didn’t love it like I wanted to. A lot happened in a short time near the end, so while I have mixed emotions on that, it did leave me curious about the next book.Final Thoughts: The Rules features dual point of view with two compelling characters that I cared about, but didn’t click with QUITE as much as I’d wanted to. There was a lot more focus on the everyday high school dramas than on Ariane’s origins/etc and most of the action didn’t happen until the end. But The Rules is a pleasant enough story, and I’ll read the sequel/s.