Banded by Logan Byrne
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.
Banded reads like a bad, simplified version of other popular dystopian books. It is like it was written for a younger audience, one who cannot understand things. The story was so simple, and at the same time not developed very well at all.
This story is one of those were the people are broken up into sections by the corrupt government, with the sections not able to talk to each other. You get placed into your section when you turn 16 based on what skills you are best at. You also have this band places on your arm that tracks how good you are. If you do something bad it deducts points and if you reach zero it instantly injects you with poison and you die. So that is slightly different, but the bands don't actually seem to be that big a part of the story. They keep warning if you do x, y or z you will get points taken off, but Kalenna keeps doing these things and not having anything happen.
So the story starts off with Kalenna turning 16 and having to go off to HQ to learn what she will do for the rest of her life. She gets sorted and instantly becomes friends with a cute boy who is also in her section so you know that is the instant love interest. Then they quickly make friends with a smart guy and a strong, tough guy and they have the perfect little band of misfits for anything they might need. Yey. It was just odd the way they came together, and they didn't even seem to be friends really. They weren't developed enough and it was a tell not show. The love interest aspect? That was definitely told not shown. People kept saying how the two of them obviously liked each other, but there wasn't really anything that happened to show that.
So Kalenna has her band of misfits, and she also knows her mom has this secret box that has something secret in it her dad was hiding. So she goes to HQ with the thought of just trying to survive, but pretty instantly for some unknown reason she suddenly decides that the government needs to be taken down. Why? I don't know. I have no idea what prompted this sudden change in her, but she kept bringing it up on occasion after that. It didn't make much sense. But then again Kaleena was kind of stupid and didn't make much sense. There is a tournament and whoever wins gets three hours to visit with their family as their prize. Well Kaleena definitely wants to win that, especially once they find some stuff about this black box holding something secret, but she is so obsessed with Gavin, the love interest, winning as well. She keeps bringing it up to him like you want to go home! And he is all no I don't and she is just adamant that he wants to no matter what he says. Her other friends who are in the tournament as well? Who cares. Gavin must try super hard to actually win so he can go home! Again I have no idea why this is so important to her...
She also needs to learn to keep her mouth shut. She keeps spouting off to the people in charge when they provoke her, but again she doesn't get points taken off every time like they said you would so she doesn't have the most motivation to stay in line. She also is often times like I cannot do anything physical cause I am just a girl. Like she is not going to win the tournament as she is just a girl and not strong and poor her so yeah not going to win (though somehow she keeps advancing in the tournament cause it makes sense that she somehow is just super awesome at everything she tries). It was just a bit tedious to read, and really it didn't seem like much happened in this story. The tournament is the main focus, and I thought that was all just a rouse by the government to get information but apparently I was wrong as nothing seemed to happen with it. It was just a tournament. It was just not good. Not much happened, the story and characters and everything lacked development, Kaleena was incredibly stupid most of the time, it was just bad. I will not be reading any more of this series as I just don't care what happens.