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Book review: Solo debut 'Icons' doesn't break new ground

Published: Saturday, Aug. 29 2015 10:25 p.m. MDT

"Icons" is the first in a series by Beautiful Creatures co-author Margaret Stohl. (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) "Icons" is the first in a series by Beautiful Creatures co-author Margaret Stohl. (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

"ICONS," by Margaret Stohl, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 448 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

Everything changed for Doloria “Dol” Maria de la Cruz on The Day. Though she was an infant, the day the Lords came and destroyed six of Earth’s major cities haunts Dol’s nightmares. When her settlement is raided by Occupation Sympathizers or “Sympas,” Dol takes a leap of faith to trust a boy and learn her true purpose and the reason for the marks on her wrist that project sadness. As she learns more about the Lords, their grip on the Embassy, Dol becomes determined to take back Earth and avenge her parents.

“Icons” marks the first solo effort of Beautiful Creatures co-author Margaret Stohl. Stohl uses a markedly different tone and setting in her post-apocalyptic, alien-invasion solo-debut novel. “Icons” is ambitious in plot, with much page space dedicated to world-building, memos and other artifacts that enhance the story.

Margaret Stohl's new young adult novel is "Icons." She will be at the King's English Bookshop on May 14 with Ally Condie, Shannon Hale, and Stephanie Perkins. (Vania Stoyanova) Margaret Stohl's new young adult novel is "Icons." She will be at the King's English Bookshop on May 14 with Ally Condie, Shannon Hale, and Stephanie Perkins. (Vania Stoyanova)

While the premise is exciting, “Icons” doesn't live up to expectations in its scope and ability to tell a cohesive story. Much time is dedicated to detailing arguments between Dol and the three other teens with abilities to match her own. This, coupled with a slow pace and choppy romance, makes for an unreliable story. Stohl’s writing alternates between compelling and heartfelt to confusing and rushed. Dol's love triangle between childhood friend Ro and newcomer Lucas feels forced and stale. All in all, “Icons” seems to be lacking the qualities to make a novel that sticks.

“Icons” is appropriate for ages 12 and up. Language and sexual content are very mild, though there is some violence, including shooting and death. “Icons” is the first in a series with the sequel to be released in 2014. Stohl is a part-time Park City resident. The sequel to “Icons” will be partly set in Utah.

If you go ...

What: YA "Icons" Tour with "Icons" author Maragaret Stohl in conversation with Stephanie Perkins, "Anna and the French Kiss"; Shannon Hale, "Austenland," "The Princess Academy" and the Books of Bayern; and Ally Condie, Matched series

When: Tuesday, May 14, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com, yaiconstour.tumblr.com

Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of "Icons" from The King's English.

Also ...

What: YA "Icons" Tour with "Icons" author Maragaret Stohl with Stephanie Perkins, "Anna and the French Kiss"

When: Wednesday, May 15, 7 p.m.

Where: Provo Library ballroom, 550 N. University Ave., Provo

Web: yaiconstour.tumblr.com, www.provolibrary.com

Note: No tickets required.

Book trailer for 'Icons' by Margaret Stohl

Emily Ellsworth is a blogger at Emily's Reading Room, emilysreadingroom.com, a blog dedicated to promoting a love of young adult fiction and includes book reviews, author interviews and more about the latest in young adult fiction.

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