Monday, February 23, 2015

Dove Arising by Karen Bao

Title: Dove Arising
Author: Karen Bao
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication date:  February 24, 2015
Pages: 336
Source/format: e-ARC from Penguin's First to Read Program

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble...

Suspenseful, intelligent, and hauntingly prescient, Dove Arising stands on the shoulders of our greatest tales of the future to tell a story that is all too relevant today.

My Thoughts:

Can I say that I am sad the cover art changed? I love the previous one. I love the shades of blue. I'm not saying the current one is bad but I have seen so many covers with the moon the background and want to see something unique. The blue one is mysterious. It makes you think.

Phaet (pronounced "Fate") lives on a lunar colony on the moon. Phaet's grandmother once lived in China and the United States before moving to a lunar base due to cataclysmic flooding, civil war and economic turmoil on Earth. Phaet lost her dad nine years ago and she is about to lose her mother.

Image from Book Depository
Due to Pheta's mom being quarantined with a medical condition, Pheta and her siblings, Cygnus and Anka, will lose their home and must relocate to the undesirable Shelter unless Pheta finds another way to support the family. She only receives very little money from being a part-time agricultural assistant. Pheta has 20 days to cover dues, medical bills and rent. She will have to leave her best friend Umbriel and her dreams of being a bioengineer.

At the young age of 15-years-old, Phaet enlists in the Militia in hopes to earn enough money to pay off debt and to protect her family. This reminded me of Katniss in Hunger Games and how she volunteers in order to protect Prim. By Phaet enlisting in the Militia, she is volunteering in order to protect Cygnus, Anka and her mother. Just like Katniss, Phaet is not that talkative and her personality can be off-putting at first. This changes over the course of the book.

Once cleared to enter the Militia, Phaet starts her training. Phaet reminds me of how Tris trains in the Dauntless faction in Divergent. She is smaller than the rest of the group but she is quick and uses certain techniques to her advantage. I love how Phaet grows attached to the dagger. She describes it how it's designed just for her. It's small, silver and silent. The dagger becomes symbolic later in the novel.

Wes gives her advice to stay low when she takes on the giant, Jupiter. Wes reminds me of how Tobias gives advice to Tris during training. There is no romance in this book but this could change in future books. I like how there are hardly any romantic interactions in Dove Arising. I was able to focus more on the plot and character development. It is possible that Phaet will either end up with Wes or her childhood friend, Umbriel, in the future but for the first book, no romance is fine by me.

Although Dove Arising is similar to Divergent due to the training, there is more teamwork involved in the book. There is a lot of betrayal and back stabbing as well. Phaet has to place in the top 7 to rescue her mother. I actually disliked her mother in the novel. Phaet gives up her dreams in order to save her mom but her mom is furious that Phaet joined the Militia. Phaet only joined in order to save her mother and her family. Phaet's mother was quite selfish in Dove Arising since she put her family second and her agenda first. I didn't think some of the dialogue between Phaet and the mother is realistic. Some of their reactions didn't seem normal.

What I love about this book is how Phaet matures throughout the novel. She starts as a quiet person who doesn't talk much but she soon grows to become close to a select number of trainees. Phaet can be a leader when it's necessary. She is selfless and cares about others first. This is quite opposite from her mother. I love how Phaet's bunkmates are of different ethnicities. Nash is half Saudi, a quarter Nigerian and a quarter Jamaican while Vinasa is part Indian and part Irish. Phaet and her instructor, Yinha, share the same heritage which creates a bond between them. However, there are some instances of racism, gender inequality and social inequality on the Moon which can be seen in certain cases of dialogue and actions.

The Committee reminds me of Big Brother from 1984. Both are always listening and watching the masses. They use surveillance devices to monitor their citizens' every move. They know what you say and what you do. I assume we will learn more about the government's secrets in the future books.

I praise Karen Bao for breaking stereotypes. Phaet wants to be a bioengineer. Dove Arising shows how girls are interested in science. Phaet also enlists into the Militia. I assume girls will feel empowered by reading about how females can do whatever males can do. Bao wrote Dove Arising when she was 17-years-old. She did an amazing job with the world building of the lunar world. I would have never guessed that she's a debut author and I am looking forward to the next book in the Dove Chronicles. Dove Arising is the first book in the trilogy.


  1. This book sounds really great--I'm looking forward to it. I hadn't heard about the cover change, so thank you for mentioning that. It's quite a big difference between the two!

    1. Dove Arising has been on my radar since the beginning of last year and that's when I saw the blue cover. Overtime, the cover was replaced with the current one.

      I hope you enjoy the book.