Crack dramatic and comic timing… unforgettable… penetrating… The cliffhanger ending is as effective as a shot to the gut.
—Booklist (starred review)
The emotional, physical, and intellectual drama is well crafted and relentless…Tension [and] suspense…are palpable throughout, mitigated by occasional moments of welcome humor.
—School Library Journal
Todd's world is a fascinating one, and the psychological and sociological impact of being unable to shut out others' thoughts—or hide your own—is creatively explored … Todd's colloquial voice is by turns defensive, belligerent, innocent, and desperate; the strength of his point of view and the subtle world-building contained in it make this series opener as promising as it is provocative.
—The Horn Book
Todd and Viola…are realistically portrayed as kids frequently overwhelmed and terrified by their circumstances…The nicely balanced mix of coming-of-age novel, science-fiction adventure, and dystopic thriller will make this an appealing choice for a range of genre readers…still unsolved mysteries, carefully developed by Ness and left at tantalizing moments of resolution, guarantee anticipation for the next two.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Skillfully structured narrative creates an elegant mixture of action, dialogue, and dark, dsytopian pathos.
Gives us a glimpse of the depth of evil in our hearts…the ending of this book is absolutely chilling and leaves the reader begging for more.
—Library Media Connection
This riveting SF thriller is action-packed, with edge-of-your-seat chase scenes, a monstrous villain who just won't die, and moments of both anguish and triumph…Emotionally intense…haunting page-turner.
Perhaps the most impressive of the recent crop [of dystopian YA]
A read-alone, stay-up-way-too-late book for older readers looking for the combination of being scared and being stirred to gallop to the end.
The powerful, gut-clenching cliffhanger will definitely leave you wanting more.
—Orlando Examiner online