This is another dystopian novel, though this one I would definately not recommend for younger people! The whole idea of the dystopia is that women have lost the right to abortion, contraceptives and other sexual freedoms, and that there is opression based on that. At the same time in this world there seems to be a stigma towards pregnant women and women who have previously had children, and them being able to work.
At first I thought this was a good basis for a dystopia, and in fact it still does remain to be a good one, but this book just didn't quite cut it. There was no real explanation as to why the world got like that or how it really affects the people in it. You hear stories of women in this world (well country, the rest of the world seems fine) but that's all really, there's no real wide spread explanations of how citizens are being treated. And these flash backs and stories themeselves take up time and space in the book which could have been used much more effectivelhy.
In part this led to the characters being somewhat flat, though this was also helped along by the severe lack of characterisation overall. When suffering a major loss, none of the characters really responded as you would expect them to at the loss of a close friend, lover or even body part in one case, and similarly no one seems to have particular feelings about the brands that they are given. This is for the 'rebel' characters. Add to this that at least every female rebel seemed to have a tendancy towards lesbianism and the characters just fell flat in my opinion, too samey for sure!
The characters that were part of the gender crimes unit were similarly vague, it was unclear to me whether one of the characters was male or female until part way through, and the only female character in this setting was basically just a seductress with no feeling for the women she's putting behind bars/killing.
The plot itself was pretty basic, and not just the interuption of everyone's life stories, but the detailed descriptions of weaponary, didn't allow the story to flow as easily as it could of, it tended towards being clunky. Also the ending seemed to be dispraportionally happy to the events leading up to it, including the big finale. There was no sadness just a great sense of having beaten the regime when, in my opinion, they hadn't actually done that much to even harm the regime really.
The one thing I did like about the book though, was the references to other famous dystopian novels, there was a nod to George Orwell's Winston Smith from 1984, and a part where Lisa asks Ofelia whether or not her name is in the style of Margaret Atwood's the Handmaid's Tale (in which the handmaids took the name of their commander and put 'Of' in front of it to give them their name, the main character is therefore Offred).