I picked this up as a Christmas present for my niece, so when I saw the library had a copy I thought I'd check out what I'd given her. Hannah, my apologies.I should've guessed from its high-zoot trappings (sure 'nuff, it's just the first of a series) and New York conglomerate origins that this would be a pretty formulaic book. Yes, Marie Lu has invented a post-apocalyptic dystopia, like all the cool kids are doing these days—but much of what she does is already clichéd, or described in vague and lifeless terms. The setting is Los Angeles, after a giant quake and some unspecified man-made disasters have adjusted the coastline inland to the edge of downtown. The US has split into at least two, and the Republic in the west is stuck with pathetic 1990s technology while the Colonies in the east march shining into the future. Except for the nasty little war they're fighting, at a front that seems to be somewhere in the flyover.Our protagonists are two teenage prodigies: Day, who has somehow turned a few petty crimes into notoriety as the Republic's most wanted; and June, being groomed for success in one of the Republic's elite (and inexplicably non-sexist) military academies. We get everything through their voices, in alternating chapters, but if those clever designers at Putnam hadn't thought to give them different fonts (June gets Renaissance classic Bembo, while Day gets some awful Neville Brody wannabe sans) and even different colors (June in basic black, Day in shit brown—or maybe it's supposed to be gold?), we wouldn't be able to tell them apart. Neither questions their role in the world until that magic moment when they meet, and then it's all sparkling eyes and flowing hair. They Meet Cute, rattle off their lines without too-terrible plot inefficiencies, suffer Painful Losses, uncover the Terrible Secret at the heart of the Republic, and escape to join the Rebels—tune in to see what happens in Book Two.I just don't get it. The suffering is staged; the cool of the rebellion is pre-established. This isn't even actual dissent, commodified: it's the cool of the Rebel Stance™, every element pre-ordained and pre-sold. In the acknowledgements at the end, Marie Lu thanks her agent's team, her publisher's team—and the team that got her the film deal. This isn't "The revolution will be televised"; this is a revolution developed for television, as entertainment.