Review – Escaping Eleven by Jerri Chisholm

**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review from the publisher via NetGalley.**

Title Escaping Eleven

Author Jerri Chisholm

Description from Amazon

In Compound Eleven, the hierarchy of the floors is everything.

My name is Eve Hamilton, and on my floor, we fight.

Which at least is better than the bottom floor, where they toil away in misery. Only the top floor has any ease in this harsh world; they rule from their gilded offices.

Because four generations ago, Earth was rendered uninhabitable―the sun too hot, the land too barren. Those who remained were forced underground. While not a perfect life down here, I’ve learned to survive as a fighter.

Except my latest match is different. Instead of someone from the circuit, my opponent is a mysterious boy from the top floor. And the look in his eyes tells me he’s different…maybe even kind.

Right before he kicks my ass.

Still, there’s something about him―something that says he could be my salvation…or my undoing. Because I’m no longer content to just survive in Eleven. Today, I’m ready to fight for more than my next meal: I’m fighting for my freedom. And this boy may just be the edge I’ve been waiting on.

Release Date December 8, 2020

Initial Thoughts

I was excited to read this book. I haven’t read a dystopian novel in a while and was eager to correct that.

Some Things I Liked

  • Fight club set up. I thought the fighting arena was an interesting way to start the story and it reminded me of that scene in one of the X-Men movies where Mystique finds Nightcrawler. More recently, it also reminds me of the fighting arena scene in the season 2 opener of The Mandalorian. I liked the idea of it. However, I will say that I think it was under utilized.
  • Romance. I liked the romance here. I thought it was interesting and realistic. Eve and Wren live in a difficult world and their relationship was not easy. They faced problems that couples in the real would would face, from their age difference to jealous friends as well as problems specific to their world like the class issue.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • No over arching plot. I kept waiting and waiting for a larger plot or conspiracy to reveal itself. When I read this book, I didn’t realize it was the first in a trilogy so I was expecting the pacing to be more reflective of a standalone. I can forgive some of this lack of structure, but I did miss that element. Who is the villain? What are we fighting against?

Content Warning

There are multiple scenes that depict abuse, sexual assault, and violence. While this is a YA novel, it might not be suitable for all audiences.

Series Value

I was very pleased to discover that this is a trilogy. I like these characters and I’d like to know more. However, the set up didn’t leave me desperate for more like I would have preferred. Honestly, it could have ended here and I’d be none the wiser.

I will keep reading, but I have no idea where the series is going.

Final Thoughts

I liked this book. It was a quick read with and interesting premise. However, I missed the larger plot. Most of the book was about a sad girl who hated her surroundings, found a glimmer of hope, and tried to cling to that. I want my dystopian novels to have a nefarious villain or complex political plot that the hero unravels. I will keep reading in the hopes that those elements will reveal themselves in the next book or books.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommendations for Further Reading

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – if you liked the dystopian elements as well as a girl who is tough on the outside but so much more on the inside, try this series.
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth – again, if you liked the social structure as well as the dystopian vibes, try this series.

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