Welcome to our stop on the tour for The Geneva Project: Lies by Christina Benjamin. We have a review of the first novel in the series The Geneva Project: Truth, as well as all the details on the third book in the award-wining YA fantasy fiction series, The Geneva Project and of course we’ve got a giveaway, so stay tuned!
Title: The Geneva Project: Truth
Author: Christina Benjamin
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Paranormal, Fantasy
Publication: August 19, 2015, Crown Atlantic Publishing
Can you live a life of lies? That’s exactly what Geneva finds herself doing to protect everyone she loves. While Geneva and her friends embark on a dangerous mission to fulfill her destiny, the dark forces that seek her powers are closing in, putting everyone she cares about at risk. Geneva must lie about who she is, what she knows and her true feelings. Are all these lies worth it or will she go too far and lose everything she’s been fighting for?
Review: The Geneva Project: Truth by Christina Benjamin
Trapped on a flood ravaged island full of orphans, natives and wealthy citizens of the prosperous city Lux, a young girl named Geneva finds herself enslaved at an orphanage with no future and a past she can’t remember. That all changes when she meets someone who promises her that there’s more in store for her than she ever could have imagined. Her once dull life rapidly spirals out of control as she starts to acquire new magical powers that may be the key to unlocking an ancient legend along with her true identity. But first she must master these powers, all while trying to keep them secret from her friends and the evil head mistress at the orphanage. Before she knows it, Geneva is in over her head and has inadvertently wrapped her friends into her web of magic and lies and now all of their lives hang in the balance once the head mistress finds out her plan to prove that the legend of Lux may not be a legend at all! Who will Geneva trust and how far will she go to save her friends and find out her true identity?
This novel had me on the edge of a love-hate relationship the entire time I was reading it. Ok, let’s not say hate, that’s too strong a word. Frustration would be more appropriate. I often feel frustration when a really good book with the potential to be a really great book annoys the crap out of me. First of all, there were a lot of things I really liked about this book. From page one, I knew that this was the set up for a dystopian kind of story that I typically love. Throw in some teens discovering their emerging gifts, some delicious baddies, a creepy orphanage and some serious complications and a rich mythological history for this mysterious island the characters are living on and I’m all in!
The problem was there were well some problems for me with this one. This quickly started to turn into insta-love territory, and then we’ve conveniently got magical life long soul bonding going on with the one that the 12 year old heroine gave her soul to after he basically gave her a piggy back ride two days after they met. It was all a little much for me. Eventually it seemed like the author realized her mistake with the whole insta-love fiasco but instead of doing the work to re-write it she just tried to cover it up by having the character say she’d been confused by all the magic. Sorry that just doesn’t fly.
And the fact that these characters were even said to be the ages they were didn’t even compute. They were supposed to be 12 and 14 at the beginning of the book, but spoke, thought and acted like they were around 16 and 18 through the entire thing. Even the descriptions of his chiseled jaw and cheekbones and her flaxen hair and later full red lips and beautiful features were not right for 12 & 14. It seemed like the whole book had been written with this much older age group and then someone told her to change the ages at the last minute and for some insane reason she did, but I could never see these characters as anywhere near that young. Now would this book appeal to readers that age? Absolutely. But kids like to read about older characters, it doesn’t mean you have to make them the age of your target reader.
I also have to say I honestly wouldn’t have even been able to tell that this was a YA book based on the cover. It has a much more adult spy thriller feel to me than YA with magic system. Which is too bad because that was one of the coolest things about the book, and one of the things that I think will really appeal to young teen readers. I can see fans of HP and Heroes of Olympus really eating this up once she gets past all that beginning obsessive romance stuff and gets into the heart of the story and has more of a group working together to learn and solve the mystery while discovering their powers feel where it’s really quite enthralling.
Later on the romance between Tippy/65/Eva/LVX/Geneva/Jane/Whatever the hell we are supposed to call the main character and Nova actually progressed quite naturally and sweetly and I was all for it. I also really liked Nova as a character, though again there’s no way he can pull off 14. Sparrow was another one of my favorite characters, with her super sweet disposition and ability to though lack of confidence in same ability to heal.
There were a few places where things in the book were a bit too transparent for me, a reveal from page 286 I deduced on page 40 and I thought it could have been really great if that had actually been a shocking reveal, but there were far too many clues. I also had a problem with the premise that these characters had all lived their entire lives in this tiny orphanage with what seems to me to have maybe 100 students based on the fact that no one seems to be named anything above 99, and all but one of them even sleeping in the same room together even some sharing beds together, yet we are supposed to believe at the beginning of the story they are all just now meeting for the first time?!
The book finally hits its pace somewhere around the 100-page mark. That’s where I was able to stop taking notes on all the things that were annoying me, and finally just read and get lost in and really enjoy the story. And I really, really did from that point on. I’m definitely invested enough in the world and the characters to want to read the other books, and her writing is good, I just felt that in addition to some of the things that I’ve mentioned here there were a lot of inconsistencies and little annoyances that could easily have been caught with a good content editor.
Something about this song and video reminds me of the very best and coolest parts of this world. Or something about this world reminds me about the coolest parts of this song and video. I’m still not entirely sure which.
*review copy courtesy of author/publisher
Christina Benjamin is the Award-Winning Author of the Young Adult series The Geneva Project.
Her debut novel, Truth, has won multiple awards, including the 2014 FAPA Gold Medal for YA fiction.
Benjamin’s writing hooks fans of mega-hit YA fiction like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and offers them a new series to obsess over. She paints a vivid world, where magic and imagination run wild in her epic tale of adventure, courage and friendship.
Benjamin studied English at the University of Central Florida. She’s dedicated to giving back to the community and speaking at schools to inspire creativity in young writers.
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Thanks for stopping by our leg of the tour. Be sure and stop by the author’s Facebook Party! Let me know if you check out this book. I’d love to know what you think.