As a member of the privileged, genetically enhanced Priors, Davis lives a sheltered life in which she pursues dance and enjoys parties with her friends. As the day of the Olympiads draws ever nearer, the pressure rises for Davis to succeed in competition, but to do that, she’ll have to be perfect.
Cole has only known about Priors from the outside. As an Imp, or Imperfect citizen, he’s second-class, barred from opportunities that could mean a world of difference to him and his struggling family. Cole makes his living as a fighter, working for an up-and-coming politician. When the man asks for one last favor before financing Cole’s biggest fight yet, Cole can’t refuse. After all, what’s the harm in bringing down a Prior? Then he meets Davis, and his whole perception of her people changes. If he follows through with his job, it will destroy the girl he may be falling in love with. If he fails, he will be destroyed.
After reading the sequel, Torn, I really wanted to read this book. As I read Torn, I kept thinking, man, there’s so much history to this story! I really wanted to read the story referenced in all these little backstory hints. Then I discovered there IS a first book. So, now I’ve read it.
I wish I’d read The Feuds closer to the time I read Torn. It’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten some of the things I liked or disliked about the second book, and I know there were things I was hoping were more deeply explored in the first book in the series. One of those things was Davis’s relationship with her dad. He’s a much more present character in The Feuds, and the relationship between them does drive a few of the story elements, so that was satisfying. It made the second book make more sense in terms of what was said vs just hinted at.
I still wanted more information about the Olympiads and the Feuds. They were happening, but I think I wanted to feel like this was a huge tradition really grafted into a culture, and it really just felt like an event. Which was okay.
In terms of the story, I think I liked Cole better in this book but Davis better in the second book. Over all, I think I liked the second book better. I’m not sure if that’s simply because I read it first?
Readers who liked the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld might like this series. The writing is very different, but some of the themes explored in terms of what makes a person beautiful or valuable are similar.
Cole and Davis have a powerful, immediate connection. They share passionate kisses. Davis is still a virgin when the story begins, as if she’s waiting for someone special. It’s implied that she and Cole have sex on a rooftop in what could be their last moments together.
Davis comments that she wishes she could believe in God sometimes because of the hope that faith offers. Her world has proven that God does not exist.
Cole provides for his family by fighting in an arena. He’s brutal and gifted. The fights are briefly described, one through a terrified Davis’s eyes. One fighter is killed in the arena.
Davis and her friends have fancy parties where alcohol and drugs are consumed. When one of her friends seems to be in some kind of medical distress, Davis assumes she’s had some kind of drug or too much alcohol.