restricted access Icons by Margaret Stohl (review)
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Reviewed by
Stohl, Margaret. Icons. Little, 2013. [448p]. Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-316-20518-4 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-316-23199-2 $9.99 Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 7-12.

On a quiet day in 2070, the Icons fell from the sky, silencing major cities around the world by stopping the hearts of almost all of the residents with a massive [End Page 437] electromagnetic pulse. Though just a baby, Dol survived when her family did not. Seventeen years later, she ekes out a living on the outskirts of what used to be Los Angeles with the elderly Padre and her friend Ro, who also survived the Day as a baby. The Embassy, the human administration in charge of the surviving population and in cahoots with the invading aliens, kidnaps both Dol and Ro and brings them to a training facility where they meet Lucas and Tima, two teens who share Dol and Ro's mysterious tattoos. As the four are interrogated and experimented on, they learn two key points: they each have powers related to the emotion they were named for (Doloria for sorrow, Furo for rage, Timora for fear, and Lucas Amare for love), and their heightened emotions may combat the EMPs put out by the Icons. Stohl creates an intricate world that believably depicts the way society has adjusted and adapted in the wake of a major invasion. Unfortunately, her main characters are little more than stereotypes of the emotions they represent, and Dol's narrative voice is unceasingly dramatic and overreliant on flawed, overlong metaphors. The most compelling character is Lucas, who, as the son of the Embassy's Ambassador, is forced to choose between family loyalty and the fate of the human race; unfortunately, the story mostly reduces him to being merely Dol's love interest and Ro's foil. Still, the appeal of a group of teens saving the world with their intense emotions may carry readers through to the optimistic and series-promising end.

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