Review: Dove Arising by Karen Bao

Review: Dove Arising by Karen Bao Dove Arising by Karen Bao
Series: Dove Chronicles #1
Published by Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated on February 24th 2015
Pages: 336
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Penguin First to Read

Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom:  that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble...

Suspenseful, intelligent, and hauntingly prescient, Dove Arising stands on the shoulders of our greatest tales of the future to tell a story that is all too relevant today.


First, can we please take a moment to mourn the beautiful cover that is no longer attached to this book? Great, thanks.9c930de8443e0a66c786cecd4e9e257a

I do like the new cover, but I loved this one.


Moving on. I am kind of having a hard time figuring out my thoughts about this book. On one hand, it was enjoyable and I liked the characters. On the other hand, there were some flaws and some parts that seemed like they were straight out of Divergent, among other books.

First of all, this book is set on the moon. The moon. That is pretty fantastic in itself. Of course, things on the moon are not all happy and wonderful, because that would be a boring book. But when it starts, Phaet (pronounced like Fate) is fifteen and really into plants and hanging out with her friend Umbriel. (If she’d shot at some turkeys, we’d just call her Katniss.) Phaet is a quiet character, not particularly outgoing or emotive. Things are copacetic until her mom is taken away to quarantine for having some kind of space-pox. (No, it isn’t called that, I don’t remember what it is called.) Suddenly, Phaet and her siblings are pretty much broke and aren’t going to be able to pay the bills, since Mom won’t be working. They turn to Umbriel’s family for help, but the most help Umbriel’s mom can muster is a quick point in the direction of the public shelter.

So what is the most obvious choice for a girl who likes to sit in a greenhouse? Of course, it’s joining the military!! The military pays the recruits who score the highest in their recruit testing (read: Dauntless initiation), and offers them elite (and higher paying) jobs. Obviously, no one in Phaet’s family thinks this is a good plan, probably because she is fifteen and has zero experience and it is kind of an awful plan. But alas, on the moon I guess it’s fine to be fifteen and in the military, so off she goes. Bye_daniel

Things get a bit more exciting during the testing/training when Phaet meets Wes, who is a few years older and has quite a bit of experience. He helps her to train after hours so that she stands a chance with the recruits who are all a few years older than her. Phaet even makes some female friends, which does help to show her personality a bit more. Things get insanely Dauntless-y when some jerks who think they are “owed” good positions start attacking people who are ranking higher, there are some fighting tests, and of course, space capture the flag. tumblr_n3b92hpIvc1rqlqjfo3_400

Nope, no old amusement parks. It’s the moon after all! 

Despite her rather ornery temperament, I liked Phaet. She was in a particularly tough situation, and I admired her for wanting to protect her family. Plus, as she came out of her shell, she became far more likable. I also enjoyed her interactions with Wes far more than her interactions with Umbriel. In fact, I didn’t particularly like Umbriel as a character. At first he seemed protective of Phaet and her family, but there were times he almost seemed controlling, which was a turn off. I also rather enjoyed Phaet’s interactions with her siblings, especially because they seemed pretty honest. Sometimes they loved each other fiercely, and other times they fought as siblings do, which was refreshing since it was neither all of one or the other.

The world building of the colony that Phaet lived in was pretty good, especially in the military training situations. I didn’t have a great feel for the moon/Earth as a whole, but I would assume there will be more of that in the next books. Also, there was very little romance in this book, if any. More like hints at romance. And if there will be romance, I kind of assume the hints were of a bit of a love triangle.

There’s also a huge other part of the story that comes into play later, but I don’t want to spoil anything. So just be aware that the whole book isn’t just Phaet training for the military, there are other plot points that will be revealed. Some of the plot points were a bit too convenient, but some worked well. My main problem with the convenience of the plot points was that they kind of made parts of the story seem really farfetched (which it already did since we’re talking a fifteen year old training to become military elite).

Bottom Line: Despite my complaints, the book is quite entertaining, and I liked the growth that Phaet underwent. She had to grow up quite quickly, which was sad in a sense, but also inspiring. There was enough going on that I found it enjoyable, and there were definitely plenty of questions for a sequel. I will most likely read the next book, because I do want to know what happens to Phaet, her family, Wes, (and fine, I guess Umbriel too). I couldn’t just base my rating on “hey, this moon fighting is cool” though, because there were points where I was literally cringing because of the problems I’ve mentioned. So the verdict? Enjoyable, yet flawed. 2hstrs

Let’s talk moon travel: Would you go to a moon colony? (I mean, of course without Dauntless initiation, no one wants to go there. Except maybe to eat some cake.)

Posted January 29, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review , / 16 Comments


16 responses to “Review: Dove Arising by Karen Bao

  1. *Cries* You were such a unique looking cover, original Dove Arising. If she’d shot at some turkeys, we’d just call her Katniss. Uhm, no book, no. Not off to a good start. Ha, nice one, Umbriel’s mom. Good parenting right there. At least you liked Phaet, and I seriously can’t get over that name. Even if it’s said like Fate. But still, military on the moon. Interesting…Oh, hints at a love triangle? I’m out.

    I would eat Mooncake. I would not go to the moon. Or the military. I would die.

    • There was basically zero romance in the book, BUT you can tell Phaet liked Wes, Wes liked Phaet, Umbriel liked Phaet (a little too much?) and she kind of liked him because she grew up with him. It was all very Katniss-Peeta-Gale.

      And seriously, mooncake sounds great! The rest… pass.

  2. This is s bit off puttish (is that a word? Prob not) for me. While I really really loved your review im sad this wasn’t a knock out. I will still read it of course lol. I agree with you about the covers as well. Why did the pubs do that?!

    • I know 🙁 I wanted to LOVE this one. And while it WAS entertaining, I couldn’t NOT talk about the very obvious flaws, you know? I really didn’t expect such obvious similarities. They were so blatant, I simply couldn’t ignore them. It was hard to rate, because I was entertained, GAH!

  3. Oh wow I’m surprised you liked the book but rated it 2.5 stars o.o And you’re going to read the next book as well? YOU MUST LOVE THE MOON SHANNON. Just kidding I read sequels of books I don’t love too. Hm, I don’t think I would enjoy living on the moon. I think it would be cool to go there once, but not stay there and live there.

    AWESOME REVIEW SHANNON. This does sound very similar to Divergent (not that I’ve read the book, just watched the movie haha)

    • I know, it is was a REALLY weird review to write. Because yes, it was enjoyable. But it was SO flawed. I couldn’t just base it on “hey, this moon fighting is cool”, because there were points where I was literally cringing. In fact, I should add that to my review! Thanks Val 🙂

  4. Gah! I wanted this to be WONDERFUL! And WHY, OH WHY, did they have to change the amazing cover!? I wanted to read this because it was set on the moon, and I still feel encouraged to do so after your thorough review…..BUT THAT COVER-Now I don’t care to own it. BUM-MERRRR.

    • Ugh, I know, I did too! That cover does still show up on The Book Depository website, so maybe the UK edition will have it? I hope so, it is so pretty, and a shame to waste! I think you still could enjoy the book, just know there are some issues- it is entertaining though!

    • Phaet is cool. Wes is shady, but I like him. Umbriel I could live without. I hope it doesn’t turn into a love triangle, but… this book IS very…. cliched, in terms of plot devices.

  5. First, I would totally go to the moon if only because my 13-year-old self was obsessed with space and I owe it to her! =D

    This book sounds a little far fetched and I don’t like the similarities to Dauntless and Katniss, that’s just a big no no! Still, I’m glad it was enjoyable and Phaet, though that’s a very odd name, sounds like a pretty good main character!

    I always find it hard to review something I enjoyed but I know has so many flaws at the same time. Great review, Shannon! =)

    • Thanks! I would go to the moon too, but I would not live there. I would also require Dauntless cake on my journey.

      And yeah, it was SO similar. I mean, even during the training, the training things were the same- even with similar outcomes- like in the “capture the flag” thing, Phaet does something “out of the box” to win, like Tris with the ferris wheel. And the way people fought, and ended up in the medical ward… it was very, very similar. Too similar, really.

  6. This sounds like it was a really hard book to score. If it was more original and less hokey I have a feeling it could’ve been great. Also I agree I dislike controlling love interests, but yay for minimum romance. Another book mor my maybe shelf. 😉

    Nope, as cool as going to the moon seems unless they could teleport me there no way!

    • Yep! That’s basically it- it COULD have been great, if it was just more original. And honestly, it wouldn’t have taken that much!

      And I guess I am the only one heading to the moon, huh? Wonder how long that trip takes…. okay, I Googled, and it only takes 3 days to get there! I’m in!

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