Review: The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey Kade


Title:  The Rules
Author: Stacey Kade
Publisher/Year: Diseny – Hyperion 4/8/2014
Length: 432 pages
Series: Project Paper Doll #1


1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don’t get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival-and that of her adoptive father-depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans, to hide in plain sight from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts Adriane in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening-and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules.

My Thoughts

First of all, i’m still not sure why this series is call ‘Project Paper Doll’ since there’s no reference to it in this first book.  I can make my assumptions based on how things are going, but i think that they should have set that one up a bit better.  In any event, i’m kind of mixed about this one and i’ll tell you why.

For the first several chapters i was having this weird sense of deja vu – thinking that i had already read this and wondered why i was reading it again.  then i realized that i was thinking about another series that i had just recently read – The Clone Chronicles by Heather Hildenbrand.  I thought for a second that this was a bit of a duplication of sorts since there was all this talk about being in a lab, under lock and key of a medical staff, and then having this leading female some how have to impersonate a living person.  Well – after about 6 or so  chapters, i realized that perhaps that’s where the similarities ended.  thank goodness.  (although that’s not to say that i didn’t enjoy the other series, since i really did).

So onto this one – now that i was adjusted and on board with the fact that i hadn’t read it yet.  What we have here is an interesting mix of sci-fi (she’s an alien/human hybrid) and YA to the core (we have our high school angst and all that goes along with being a teen) and then a bit of dysopia (a very small bit since it’s not quite at the THG level yet but we’re going there i think).

Ariane – our lead has been cultivated in a lab – as part of an experiment of sorts, and she had been training her whole live to use her powers for some task that she wasn’t aware of, she just knew that she didn’t agree with what they wanted her to do.  to kill.  It’s only after she’s broken out of the lab one night and then hidden away in plain sight that she gets to have a life.  or so she thinks – although not much of one since her father has all these ‘Rules’.  She’s basically not allowed to do anything – since she can’t be found…and of course you know that once she breaks one rule in the hopes of living her own life, things rae going to come crashing down.

The other bit of this is that there’s clearly more to the secret than she knows even.  There has to be more of a motivation for why sh’es not allowed to do anything – for why her father is the way that he is, and for why some of the kids that she associates with are as they are.  They have their own darker stories too – although none of them are really relevant to us, aside from Zane – the boy that causes her to break her rules.

What we have here in this story is a ‘coming of age’ bit – where we see Ariane finally decide for herself that she’s not going to be bound by all of the rules that she’s been given.  We also see Zane come into his own.  He’s been living in the shadow of his older brother who was a star and everyone adored.  now that his brother is in college, he’s left to fall short of everyone’s expectations, especially that of his father.  He also has to live with the issue of his mother leaving – it was the morning after his brother’s graduation party and ironically his own birthday that she up and left, leaving zane behind to deal with the broken pieces of his life.

So you can see that there’s going to be a great dynamic here -2 teens who have nothing really to support them in life and of course that means that they will gravitate towards one another.  Knowing that Ariane has all these secrets that she can’t share with Zane and Zane being the guy that just wants someone to love him.

We see their struggles with just about everything, and how Ariance knows that by spending time with Zane and his ‘friends’ that her secret will come out – yet she still feels the need to do it.  It’s when there’s no way to keep things a secret anymore that things start to get exciting and that’s in the final chapters of this first installment.  Our author has set up such a false sense of security for us, that even i didn’t realize the twist until it was too late.  I think that there’s going to be something great here in this series since it has the beginnings of THG and all of the great ‘fight to the death’ mentality that we all know and love in this genre.  I can’t wait to see what ‘The Hunt’ – book 2 will bring us and thankfully i have that in my library waiting for me.  So, the question is  – will they escape, will both Ariane and Zane survive, and what will it means for the trials.  Who’s going to be on their side when they need help and can’t they trust anyone?  even each other?

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