Margaret Stohl. Icons. Little, Brown and Company, 2013. 433p. Grades 7-12. Dystopian/Science Fiction.
Icons a fresh take on the dystopian theme that is radiating through YA lit currently. Instead of global warming or other disasters that forces the human race to adapt into a new social construction, Icons has an alien invasion. The Day is when aliens come to Earth and place icons in 13 major cities around the world at the same time peoples’ hearts stopped beating. Using this as leverage the aliens are using manpower to build some of their projects. The Ambassador and the embassy are the spokes people to the aliens, perpetuating the submission of the human race. However, Dol, Ro, Lucas and Tima are different. They survived the Day and can get close to the Icons. As secrets start coming to light, they realize they are the ones who can take the Earth back from the tyranny of the Aliens.
Icons has a slow beginning. It takes a while for the action to start. However, I think this has more to do with it being a first book in a series than anything else. The world building is done well. Stohl writes Icons in such a way that you it feels immediate to you, almost like the aliens could come any day now. There are science fiction elements, like the super computer Doc, most of the technology isn’t that far removed from what we have in today’s world, which adds to the sense of accessibility to the novel. To supplement the world building from Dol’s perspective, Stohl used emails, and bits and pieces from the infamous ‘book’ to break the chapters up. It gave unique perspectives and helped with the world building that the reader can’t get from Dol. My chief complaint with Icons is that the characterization of everyone besides Dol and Ro was a bit lacking. Tima has an extraordinary power, but she is never fleshed out and is almost one dimensional in her obsessive love for Lucas. Hopefully in subsequent books Tima will have more depth to her character.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading Icons and would recommend it for a read alike to Marie Lu’s Legend and Prodigy or The Hunger Games. It would be really great for kids trying to get into the science fiction genre. As a warning I must say this is NOTHING like the Beautiful Creatures series that Stohl co-wrote with Kami Garcia. I would not recommend this book based on someone’s love of Beautiful Creatures.
**Note I read an advanced readers copy of this book. Thank you to Little Brown for providing me with a copy at TLA**