Published: 6th September 2011 (US) 29th March 2012 (UK)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US) Macmillan Children’s Books (UK)
Series: Birthright (#1)
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Science fiction, dystopia, romance
All These Things I’ve Done is set in futuristic New York City. It’s 2082 and, as the US cover says, chocolate is contraband, caffeine is a illegal, the city is riddled with crime, and Anya is torn between accepting her birthright and following her heart. Anya Balenchine was born into a Mafia family. Both her parents were murdered; her father, a notorious crime boss, was shot and killed in front of her. For Anya, trouble ensues after her ex-boyfriend Gable nearly dies from consuming a bar of poisoned chocolate produced by the Balenchine chocolate factories. The aftermath of events force Anya to choose between acknowledging her family ties or deciding to follow her own path.
All These Things I’ve Done is difficult for me to categorise; it’s part-dystopia, part-thriller, and most definitely part-romance, but it also doesn’t fit properly into any of these genres. The book is described as a ‘Godfather-esque thriller with a dystopian twist’, and I could definitely see the similarities. The Mafia-type family drama was thoroughly entertaining and I enjoyed seeing how it played out in a society where alcohol was legal but chocolate and caffeine were prohibited. How plausible it is, I’m not sure, but I felt it worked. I particularly enjoyed the first half of the book, where the reader is introduced to this futuristic society, its characters, and their dramatic lives.
I loved Anya as well as the rest of the main characters. Anya constantly strives to protect her family and doesn’t let anyone stereotype her. I admired her personality, attitude, and bravery. A seemingly future Anya retells the story and addressed the reader directly, which was something I really enjoyed and thought was refreshing.
As this blog is called Pretty Books, I’d also like to acknowledge that the US cover is awesome. It’s deceptively simple. I paid no attention to it at first because I thought it just had a silly heart on the cover, but then I realised it was dripping with chocolate made to look like blood. I then noticed the faint text, mentioned at the beginning of this review, in the background. I think it’s a fantastic cover.
All These Things I’ve Done is a fun, entertaining story involving smuggling contraband, Russian American mobsters, and a starcrossed lovers romance.
Thank you Macmillan Children’s Books for providing this book for review!