Tainted – Review // Unique But Not Entirely Interesting

Tainted by Alexandra Moody
Book 1 in The ARC saga
Genre: YA dystopian
Pages: 194
Format: e-book
Source: subscription list
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository


plot: 14/20
characters: 14/20
setting: 20/20
relationships: 17/20
twists: 14/20

For most of the month of November I’ve been on a streak of sorts: all the books I read got a rating of 4½ or 5 star rating. However, that was unlikely to last forever, and this book was the one to end it. I don’t mean that in a bad way; this was still a good book. I did enjoy Tainted and it was unique, but it was still disappointing in a few ways.

The story was unique and entertaining, to an extent. It was unique during the entirety of the story and it was enjoyable to read a dystopian with a plot-line I hadn’t heard of before. It follows a girl named Elle, who lives in the ARC, which is basically a underground shelter for people to live in after an asteroid hit and wrecked the surface of the Earth. Every year each citizen in the ARC has to get tested to make sure they’re not tainted, and not much is explained about the taint other than it’s a harm to the society. Tainted people are taken and never heard from again, and it’s a mystery throughout the story what exactly happens to those people. So it was definitely an interesting read, and unlike any dystopian I’ve read previously.

My issue was with the twists, because there was a noticeable lack of them. I don’t say that to be mean, just to be honest. There were a couple of surprising events, but nothing that truly caught me by surprise. I read the second half of this book this afternoon alone, and not because I was immersed but because I wanted to be done. Again, this isn’t to be mean. It was more like wanting to finish because a 194 page book shouldn’t have taken me 5 days to read. Regardless, I have to admit I found myself getting distracted in the last quarter of the story. I predicted what was likely meant to be the big twist, although that might have just been luck. My point is that while it was a fun read, it wasn’t incredibly immersing or full of surprises.

I did like Elle as a character. She was brave and loyal, and I admired her determination once she set her mind to something. However, sometimes she seemed kind of desperate and naïve, and didn’t really think things through. Much of the same could be said about the other main character, Sebastian. I wouldn’t say he was naïve, but he did seem overly emotional, almost blinded by his feelings. I liked them both, and thought they were both strong leads, but also a bit too flawed for my tastes. 🙂

(I don’t mean that I only like perfect characters. I don’t, I actually prefer flawed characters. But once flaws go beyond a certain point they become more annoying than realistic. Hopefully you get what I mean.)

I really liked Elle and Quinn’s friendship, though I admit I was rolling my eyes a little bit. The descriptions made it sound like Elle was the plain, average girl and Quinn was the beautiful, confident best friend. And while I know friendships go beyond appearances and I did like the way they worked together, that combination has been used a bit too much, in my opinion. 😉

As for Elle and Sebastian’s relationship, it just rubbed me the wrong way. They were friends but they both had romantic feelings for the other and wouldn’t admit it. It created tension and caused a bit of a rift, and while I don’t mind romance being used as a minor plot device it gets old after a while. Soon I was wishing they would just confess, and if I read the other books I’m hopeful a romance will happen.

I know I’ve criticized this book a lot, but I honestly did like it. I’m not sure if I’ll continue reading this series, but Tainted really was a good, unique dystopian, even with its flaws. 🙂

I would recommend this book to you if you enjoy dystopian stories, and more easygoing plots!

my rating: 3½ out of 5 stars

Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments! 🙂


I’m off to play Super Mario 3D World and maybe start my ARC of The Valiant by Lesley Livingston. 🙂 I hope you all have a fabulous day/night! ❤

Until next time…


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