I am deeply conflicted about this novel. It is amazingly plotted with compelling characters and is almost impossible to put down. Yet, I came away feeling I'd read something very disposable. The central premise that allows for the Lord of the Flies über violence is so contrived and unrelated to even the most horrific nation's actual state that the metaphorical value is lost. I feel this is a message book without a message that stands up to two seconds of thought. It's well enough written to avoid being mere violence porn and stands out from the spate of vacuous vampire novels that have plagued YA lately, but compared to a book like Scott Thompson's The Pretties cycle, this is far from a deep novel.On an unambivalent note, the cover art is simply brilliant.