In dystopian Manhattan, society is divided into six zones, with each one representing a citizen’s benefit to society: Stalwart (strength), Astute (intelligence), Collusive (greed), Radiant (beauty), Quixotic (no life direction), and the Altruistic (willingness to help others). On a citizen’s sixteenth birthday, a computer suggests a new zone for them based on their inherent benefit to society. When Kalenna Slater is sorted out of her home zone Quixotic and into Altruistic, she thinks things can’t get worse. Life looks dismal until she meets Gavin, a boy also just sorted into Altruistic who becomes the light needed on her cloudy days.
During sorting she receives a device known as ‘The Band’. It’s a large watch-like device that never comes off, and it measures a citizen’s karma on a scale from one to one hundred. If a citizen does good, they gain points. If a citizen does bad, including breaking laws, they lose points. When your number reaches zero, the band acts as judge, jury, and executioner, and you are injected with toxins that kill you within minutes.
After sorting, recruits are taken to a three month long mandatory school named HQ. It’s at HQ she meets new friends from different zones, and finally begins to feel at ease. Everything goes well until a rare trip home makes her discover that her father, who has been missing for a decade, may have taken part in a terrible program that stands to shake the fabric of society.
“Computer,” the Warden said.
“Will you please deduct four points from Ms. Slater here,” he said.
“Certainly, sir,” the computer said.
My band buzzed on my wrist, and I looked down to see four points leaving from my score one by one. I was now left with ninety-five points, the lowest of my class, and I was scared.
Banded was a quick and easy light read but wasn’t very satisfying. It felt like it was way too short and there wasn’t try anything going on besides the Warden harassing Kaleena and her falling for it every time. As a main character Kaleena was flat in my opinion. There was never a point where I really felt anything for her but annoyance at her non ability to keep her mouth shut. The storyline was very rushed and I didnt understand why Kaleena was coming up with the conclusions she had most of time. She went from just trying to get through HQ training to conspiracy theories and wanting to change the government in like a week. The were also elements from different books like Divergent incorporated in the story. There was even a bit of Harry Potter thrown in with the way the kids get sorted being a high tech version of the Sorting Hat. I felt like it was too much of a play of other things with just a few original concepts thrown in and the story just wasn’t all that great. I won’t be reading the following stories in this series and give it a 1/5 rating. If you don’t mind books with obvious elements of other stories and looking for a time killer this is for you.