I started out quite confused. The idea intrigued me - a world that is just like Earth but it's exact opposite, and Earth has portals to it. Add to that the "Second Chancers", who are people who died on Earth and got to choose a second chance at life on Thera. Then there are the Originals - Lights and Darks, able to pass through the portals with ease. But as the story progressed, these elements were explained a little better and I started to thoroughly enjoy my reading time.
The rules on Thera are strict and oppressive. The SCI provides everything for them - they all wear the same clothes in the same colors, with different outfits for different occasions. Their food is provided for them. Pregnancies are regulated. Houses are bugged and people are tracked wherever they go. It's a sinister place beneath a happy facade. The biggest rule that gets talked about is Cleaving. Of course, they're teenagers, so it rings true that they would be so obsessed with it. It was talked about *a lot*. They Cleaved (had sex). Now they are Cleaved (married). He's her Cleave (husband). It's an odd word and used a little too much.
Warning: there is a love triangle in this book. Or rather, several love triangles. So, if those drive you crazy, this may not be a book for you. However, I thought it was well done - even though I wanted to smack Kira a few times and tell her to figure it out because I was beyond frustrated with her inability to choose. She spends a good amount of time mad at both of the boys, and that doesn't make her choice any easier. Each of them have their own agenda and she doesn't get included in their plans.
I felt a connection with Kira and Ethan's characters immediately. Blake eventually grew on me. The point of view switched between the three of them, which I liked because I was able to understand their intentions a little bit. Neither Blake nor Ethan had a decent parental upbringing. Blake's father was obsessed with destroying the SCI and Ethan's parents seem devoid of any emotion at all. Weirdly, Kira's parents weren't mentioned until partway through, and there were only a couple of scenes that involved them. I assume that she had a normal childhood.
As I mentioned before, the world of Thera is a sinister place beneath the surface. Something dark was going on that wasn't completely explained in this book, but I'm hoping are big parts of the next book. I'd really like to see where she's taking this concept, because it's a good one. Every time I turned around there was a new twist that changed the way I saw things. I was pleased to find out that this is the first book in a trilogy. Which is good because it ended with a cliffhanger, and I am wanting to know the rest of this crazy story.
Overall, I'd recommend this book. If you like conspiracies, love triangles, and alternate universes, you'll really enjoy it! I can't wait to read the second installment and find out what will happen to Kira, Blake and Ethan!