Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Ungoverned by Jaq C. Reed Book Review

Ara is Code Yellow.

In a world of assignment, there is no choice. Ara lives, works, and breathes under the rule of the Governance. It’s a race against time, as every minute is counted down off her clock of life.

The annual cull of the population threatens her friends, family; everyone close to her. Missteps lead to questioning and torture.

She is genetic perfection; the impure of the Nation are cast out and terminated. Mingling with anyone outside of Rank brings with it the possibility of code collision and termination. The Code keeps everyone, including Ara, under complete control of the Governance. Until she becomes unCoded.

From a life of drudgery, Ara unwittingly becomes the face of revolution. With the forbidden love of the Governor’s son and the Cull looming, can she save her friends from torture? Can she save her family from certain death? Can she save herself?

In a world of surveillance, where death is at every turn–

Will she allow herself to be Governed? Or join the ranks– of the few that are—


Ara, is code yellow. She's in the lower ranks of her society. Born, and bred into a code that dictates the way she is to live her life, now and forever more. Everything is planned out from the job she is to have to man she is to marry. Under the control of governance, her job is decided, her mate is picked out and her baby is planned. But, Ara although bred to follow a certain set of rules has a hard time cooperating. With the assistance of the love she hides, she becomes unCoded.

Being unCoded allows for her to hide from the watchful eyes of the governance. This is dangerous as being coded is the way of life. No one is to hide from it. 

The Ungoverned weaves a tale of both forbidden and taboo love. Rebellion and freedom commingle. Lives are discarded and created. Rules are made and broken. And everything is up for question.

I have to admit, the Ungoverned is very similar to a lot of the other YA dystopian books I've read--but it still managed to have a sense of uniqueness. I liked the "cull" concept--the idea that once people have reached a certain age, their life needs to end. As if they've done all they needed to, and it's time to make room for the new. That was intriguing. I actually would love to see more of that. It's sinister I know but it's an interesting concept.

I also really liked the coding system, because although at the base of it they were simply separated by colors, it was a little bit deeper than that. It controlled the way they lived, it could even control the way they died. Contamination was deadly.

I didn't fully connect with any of the characters but it surprisingly didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the book. Which, is an oddity for me. Reed managed to entertain despite the lack of connection. I was pretty pleased with this book and the way it tackled some things, and built around the others.

I do have one complaint, the last, maybe 5 percent. There was a lot smashed into the end of the novel. I know why it was done the way it was. But I felt like a lot of what was squeezed at the end of this novel could have lapped over into a sequel.  I'm not sure if there will be but it gives the impression that it will. There are some unanswered questions. 

I think all in all Ungoverned is a decent read with series potential. Readers will be intrigued by the operation of the governance, the odd workings of the code system, the taboo and forbidden love, and the way it all ends. 


  1. Sounds like this might by my sort of read but yes as you say there is a lot of similar plot lines in dystopian books.

    Great review!

    Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings

  2. While this is common among dystopian books, I still enjoy the whole "overruled by government" thing as long as there is enough to separate it from the crowd, and I connect with the characters. I am glad that the lack of connection didn't take away from your experience in this case. Great review.

  3. I have not read even a single dystopian book and I really want to try this genre. In fact I have made an effort and picked up 'The Queen of the Tearling' which is a high fantasy dystopian book. I like it till now but its still early to say. If I successfully complete this book, then I will pick up more dystopian books. I might try 'The Ungoverned' :)

    And great review!!

    1. I do hope you enjoy Dystopian. It actually one of my favorites, despite my gripes! :)

  4. Great review! This sounds like the kind of book I like to read :)

  5. One of these days, I'm going to read a dystopian book and I WILL love it! Divergent kind of ruined all prospects of me picking up a book from the genre. Not to mention they all seem to be quite repetitive, but I'm going on a dystopian hunt to find something good lol.

    Idk about this book though. I hate when I don't connect to characters in the story. That's big for me, being that if I don't connect to them, then the book would be boring, but you did say the concept is intriguing so I'm def on the fence.

    1. Girl! You tried it with Divergent, you know I love Four! BUT, I mean you're not the first person to not like the book. There are some great dystopian reads out there, you'll find one!

  6. I hate when they feel the need to squish so much into an ending. Sounds like an interesting book though - Great review!

  7. I'm really glad you enjoyed this book even though the characters weren't very "connectable". I'm kind of over the YA Dystopia genre so I'm not sure I'll ever read this, but I loved your review :)

  8. I may have to check this one out. I've been staying away from dystopian for the most part since I feel a little burned out. Great review! ~Pam