Review: Impostors

“Freedom has a way of destroying things,” Scott Westerfeld

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld
405 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Published by Scholastic Press, 2018
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by Indiana
Spoiler-free review

This long-awaited follow-up to Extras, which was published over a decade ago, fit in well with the series, but tapped into issues and themes that made it feel modern.

It follows the story of Frey and Rafi, twins who were born minutes apart. Rafi is the daughter of the president of Shreve, a powerful city. Frey is her body double and protector, trained to kill anything that would stand to harm Rafi.

Beyond her trainer and her father, there are very few who know Frey exists. She is hidden from the world, except when she’s taking Rafi’s place in dangerous situations. However, that changes when her father makes a deal of sorts with a rival city; Shreve will help Victoria ward off the rebel army and in exchange, Shreve will be able to go through and take metals from Victoria’s ruins. Protection for resources. But no one trusts Frey’s father so he must send his daughter there, who is beloved by the people of Shreve, as hostage so that Victoria will believe in the strength of the agreement.

As you can probably guess from the title, Rafi is not the one who gets sent. It’s Frey, who is unwholly unequipped to act the diplomat and isn’t valued by her father in the slightest. Impostors is the story of how she learns the power of having an identity of your own and how to wield it. True to the other books in the series, there’s commentary on war, on abusing the environment, and on political corruption. In that sense it fit right into the series.

But it deviated in the character development of the protagonists. Frey is an interesting character, don’t get me wrong, and she does grow throughout the course of the book. She gains more of a sense of self and attempts to cleanse her mind of the things she’s been brainwashed to believe. However, her character arc suffered from the “Katniss Everdeen” effect. Frey is a trained killer and protector who finds herself in the lead of a seemingly impossible rebellion, oh, and she falls in love with someone who is a lot like Peta and Peta’s story arc.

At the start of the book, there was plenty of potential for Frey to have a completely different sort of character development and I was disappointed in the way it played out.

The book closed on an intense cliffhanger and while I do want to find out what happens next, I’ll be going into the next one with lowered expectations.  

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