The day Iris Beaumont turns seventeen, she is threatened to be taken by the Beasts, the rulers of the new America. After the destruction of the world, the Beasts provide citizens with whatever they need in exchange for the one teenage girl they enslave every week. They call them the Brides, and they never comes back. Iris isn’t the worrying type though; she’s been defying the system since she was ten and never cared for the Beast’s rules.
Then she meets Colton Ray, who is not like any other boy she’s ever seen. His confidence and dominance are otherworldly she can’t rationalize the attraction she feels for him. Colton had one slight problem though. It’s rumored he is one of the Beast, and Iris could be the next on the Beast’s list.
I hate myself. Do you know why? Because I was supposed to write the review for this book a week ago. No, not because I was on a deadline, but because I loved it so much that I should have written the review immediately, when my impressions and emotions were fresh. On the other hand, maybe it is better that I’m reviewing it now. I might actually be able to explain why it was such a good read. Anyway, first things first: I started reading it at about 8 PM, I read one or two chapters, then I took a break because I was supposed to finish some work, and then I picked it up again, and I stayed awake until 3 AM because I couldn’t put it down. That’s right. I couldn’t go to bed and wait a couple of hours to continue the story. I had to find out how it ended right then.
The action takes place in a dystopian world, where people live in a city made of metal, in a country called the Second United States. The Second is ruled by the Beasts, who, it seems, have saved the Earth from destruction, and now they keep everyone safe by watching them from above, their space ships looming over the city just out of people’s sight. In exchange for their protection, the Beasts demand that one seventeen-year-old girl is sent to them every one or two weeks. The girl becomes a Bride for the Beasts, and she is never seen again. Iris Beaumont is one of the few who dare to speak against the Beasts. She often breaks the rules, she skips school, and, once in a while, she goes beyond the Great Wall to see the Ruins of the world that was, and practice her secret hobby – Pentimento.
Iris is very easy to like as a character. She is curious, she’s not willing to take everything as it is, and she’s constantly looking for answers. She is the only one who is brave enough to defy the Beasts, and when her best friend, Zoe, is taken by them, she is ready to do absolutely anything to save her. She doesn’t even care that by rebelling against the Beasts she won’t be able to see Colton anymore, the boy she is in love with. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always liked the characters that don’t consider love the most important thing in the world. When so much is at stake, Iris knows that hiding in Colton’s arms and enjoying the short time she can still spend with him is not an option.
Of course, it’s Cameron Jace’s style to introduce a huge twist when you least expect it. Because it’s not the first book I’ve read by him, I was sure something like that would happen, and somehow I was ready. Still, he did it in a very clever way. Practically, you realize what’s actually happening when you reach the last two or three pages. Until then, you can’t be quite sure.
The ending was what I liked best about Pentimento. I thought it was perfect. Once again, Iris’s actions prove she has a strong personality, and that she will never let herself influenced by anyone. Compared to Zoe, Iris stands her ground even when she understands that things have always been completely upside down. She will never give up on her beliefs, and, most importantly, she will never accept anyone’s pity, something that all the other girls who were turned into Brides did.
At the end of the book the author says that his intention was for Pentimento to be a stand-alone, thinking that it doesn’t need a sequel. To some extent, I believe the ending was perfect, and a second book might ruin the whole thing if it’s not done properly. But, on the other hand, I would love to read more about Iris and what she’ll do now that she knows the truth. I sense a nice love triangle, one that would probably develop in a good way, not in a cheesy, clichéd way as it does in most YA novels. So, yes, I do want a sequel! I am ok with open endings, really. But this one is too open. It demands a sequel!