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Icons (Icons Series #1)

Icons (Icons Series #1)

3.4 24
by Margaret Stohl

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Ro murmurs into my ear. "Don't be afraid, Dol. They're not coming for us." Still, he slips his arm around me and we wait until the sky is clear.

Because he doesn't know. Not really.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the Icon appeared in Los Angeles. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it


Ro murmurs into my ear. "Don't be afraid, Dol. They're not coming for us." Still, he slips his arm around me and we wait until the sky is clear.

Because he doesn't know. Not really.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the Icon appeared in Los Angeles. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside with fellow survivor Ro-safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

They're different. They survived. Why?

When the government discovers their secret, they are forced to join faint-hearted Tima and charismatic Lucas in captivity. Called the Icon Children, the four are the only humans on Earth immune to the power of the Icons. Torn between brooding Ro and her evolving feelings for Lucas, between a past and a future, Dol's heart has never been more vulnerable. And as tensions escalate, the Icon Children discover that their explosive emotions-which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses-may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers a thrilling novel set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts-in order to save their future.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This first solo effort from Stohl, who burst on the scene as coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures series, is a dystopian vision of occupation by the Lords, who can kill with an electrical pulse. Climate change had already submerged population centers, and weapons of mass destruction contaminated the planet, when aliens landed in the late 21st-century. Through human Ambassadors, the Lords rule vast conurbations like the Hole, the remains of Los Angeles. Some humans persist beyond the Lords’ range, living in the Grass as subsistence farmers. Dol and Ro, survivors of the initial attack, are special: Dol for her extreme empathy, and Ro for his berserker rage. A man called the Padre has kept them on the Mission, alive but ignorant, for 16 years; when he is murdered by government thugs, the teens’ struggle to survive goes hand in hand with self-discovery. Stohl’s world is a stereotypical totalitarian state, but Dol’s narrative voice is particularly vivid; the here-and-now character development, if not the SF trappings, will keep readers engrossed. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Burnes, the Gernert Company. (May)
Children's Literature - Greta Holt
Dol and Ro live a primitive, but relatively safe, existence in the hills above the City of Angels, which was crushed by aliens. Seventeen years ago the alien Lords dropped Icons into thirteen major cities. Most of the people in the cities died immediately. Dol and Ro survived but each was given a special nature: Dol intuits other's feelings and Ro's anger is a force. The teenagers are now under the protection of a kind man they call Padre. One day Padre gives Dol a book and tells her that by reading it she will know her background. Before she can read the book, the Embassy, which houses the human government that takes orders from the Lords, sends its soldiers to arrest Dol and Ro. On the train carrying them to the Embassy, Dol gives the book to Fortis, a mercenary, in exchange for his help. Dol and Ro escape but are recaptured by the Sympas soldiers in the company of Lucas, the son of Ambassador Amare, the lead Occupation Sympathizer. While in captivity, the teenagers learn that Lucas and his friend Tima have special talents, as well. Lucas embodies love, while Tima personifies fear, anxiety, and action. Each has been studied and abused by the evil Colonel Catalus, under orders from Lucas's mother. The teenagers find that their powers are magnified when they combine their efforts. Stohl, coauthor of the "Beautiful Creatures" series, writes well. Dialogue and action are balanced in the text. Her style is easy to read and unobtrusive. Stohl grounds the plot by providing communications from a savvy computer to Ambassador Amare; these messages clarify what has happened with the coming of the Lords and asks questions about why the special Icon children exist. The plot is strong enough to exist without the love quadrangle among the four Icon children. As the first in a series, the story may fall prey to holding back a bit on character development, even though plot questions are answered. Dol does achieve her greatest strength in this book, and it is hoped that readers will be treated to the other three teenagers' greatest moments in the next books. The story and text can be recommended to both the younger and older ends of the YA spectrum. Beyond its dystopian setting, the message is that young people should not assume that their personalities are "all wrong." What they think of as weaknesses may be their greatest strengths. Reviewer: Greta Holt
VOYA - Rebecca Moore
On "The Day," when alien Lords took over the world and installed huge, controlling metallic Icons, whole cities just dropped dead. All but baby Doloria, that is. Growing up in a rural mission, Dol thinks her survival connects with the odd dot on her wrist, and her emotion-channelling abilities. Before she can learn about herself, though, Sympa soldiers serving the Embassy—the Lords' human interface—capture her. They also capture her friend, Ro, who has two dots on his wrist and a problem with uncontrolled rage. Installed at the Embassy, Dol and Ro encounter two other teens with dots: telekinetic Tima, and uber-persuasive Lucas, son of the Ambassador. As the mistrustful four try to understand themselves and each other, they all sense they have some purpose in connection with the deadly icon—they just have no idea what it is. Stohl's dystopia is well-written and well-structured. Action balances with character and world development, and interspersed documents reference deeper mysteries, gradually hinting at how the "icon children" came to be. The multi-layered characters are mostly sympathetic, believably flawed and driven, though Dol's continuing attraction to Lucas fails to ring true after all his betrayals. Also illogical were characters deliberately keeping information from the teens; telling Dol she will play the key role in a mission but refusing to give her any details seems like a recipe for disaster. Overall, though, this not-too-violent dystopia will appeal to both boys and girls, and has sequels in the offing. Reviewer: Rebecca Moore
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Seventeen years ago, Dol's parents were among the billions killed on The Day. Since then, Dol and her best friend, Ro, have grown up in the Grasslands, protected and kept hidden in a peaceful mission. But things change on Dol's 17th birthday, when Embassy soldiers kill the Padre and capture Dol and Ro. Held captive by the Embassy's alien ambassador, the teens meet Lucas and Tima, both of whom have similar markings on their wrists as Ro and Dol. The four learn that they are Icon children who possess the supernatural ability to read and control emotions. Icons has a promising start, slows considerably in the middle, and gets only slightly more exciting by the end. "Top secret" and "Classified" documents appear between the chapters to provide necessary background information about the new alien-controlled planet. The four protagonists are difficult to care about. Two love triangles feel forced as only Ro seems to really feel anything for anyone else. The premise, while original, is confusing at times and requires infinite patience from readers, who will wonder far too long what the point is. For another alien-takeover story with excellent world-building, suggest Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave (Putnam, 2013).—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Humanity's only hope against an alien occupation is a quartet of teens with emotion-based superpowers. When the aliens landed on Earth, they cowed humanity into submission with the mass murder of several cities via an electromagnetic field generated by the alien Icons. Dol somehow survived and, under the care of the compassionate Padre, has developed a deep friendship with fellow vaguely superpowered teenager Ro. They hide from the Embassy that "oversees" Earth–alien relations by shipping humans off to work as slaves on mysterious, never-defined projects. On Dol's 17th birthday, the Padre gives her a mysterious book explaining who and what the Icon Children are. Inexplicably, she decides not to read it; this is part of a pattern of clunky information-withholding that sits awkwardly and frustratingly alongside exposition. Embassy soldiers capture Dol, and after an encounter with a more-than-he-seems mercenary, they bring Dol and Ro to the Embassy where they endlessly bicker with fellow Icon Children Lucas (the Ambassador's son) and silver-haired Tima. With all that squabbling, readers will feel like they are reading the same scene over and over again without the payoff of plot progression. Dol's torn between best friend Ro and mysterious new Lucas, yielding a clichéd romantic storyline. Top-secret documents filed between chapters make the invasion and mystery of the Icon Children more interesting than Dol's narration does. Those without superhuman patience should pass. (Science fiction. 12 & up)
Ally Condie
"Epic in scale and exquisite in detail -- a haunting, futuristic fable of loss and love."
From the Publisher
Praise for Icons:

"Fans of Stohl's Beautiful Creatures series will find many of the same elements here -- paranormal romance, a fast pace, and intriguing characters -- but within a distinctly science-fiction setting. The strong messages of questioning authority, daring to resist injustice, and loyalty to one's group will resonate with teens who loved The Hunger Games."—Booklist

"Dol's narrative voice is particularly vivid . . . Will keep readers engrossed."—Publisher's Weekly

"Stohl's dystopia is well-written and well-structured. Action balances with character and world development, and interspersed documents reference deeper mysteries, gradually hinting at how the 'icon children' came to be. The multi-layered characters are mostly sympathetic, believably flawed and driven..."—VOYA

"Icons is epic in scale and exquisite in detail-a haunting, futuristic fable of loss and love."—
Ally Condie, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Matched

"I love this book. It's raw and riveting, a scorched-Earth future vision that feels frighteningly real. It's full of passion and deep truths and the kind of power that people only find when they're driven far, far past their limits."—
Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author ofThe Magicians

"Margaret Stohl is a genius when it comes to characters and their emotions. ICONS had me hooked on the first page, and I can't wait to read the sequel!"

Richelle Mead, New York Times bestselling author of the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series

"An action-packed, smart thriller that shows an excitingly different side of Stohl's writing and opens up a fascinating new world."—

Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author of the Modern Faerie Tales series

"The ultimate compliment I can give this book: I hate that it was written by someone else. It's just awesome. I hope this one gets made into a movie."—
James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner trilogy

"Short sentence structure adds to the tension, and the Embassy reports add a level of intrigue. Readers will be waiting for the next book in the series."—Library Media Connection

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Margaret Stohl's Icons Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Margaret Stohl

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2013 Margaret Stohl
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-316-20518-4



"Dol? Are you okay?"

The memory fades at the sound of his voice.


I feel him somewhere in my mind, the nameless place where I see everything, feel everyone. The spark that is Ro. I hold on to it, warm and close, like a mug of steamed milk or a lit candle.

And then I open my eyes and come back to him.


Ro's here with me. He's fine, and I'm fine.

I'm fine.

I think it, over and over, until I believe it. Until I remember what is real and what is not.

Slowly the physical world comes into focus. I'm standing on a dirt trail halfway up the side of a mountain—staring down at the Mission, where the goats and pigs in the field below are small as ants.

"All right?" Ro reaches toward me and touches my arm.

I nod. But I'm lying.

I've let the feelings—and the memories—overtake me again. I can't do that. Everyone at the Mission knows I have a gift for feeling things—strangers, friends, even Ramona Jamona the pig, when she's hungry—but it doesn't mean I have to let the feelings control me.

At least that's what the Padre keeps telling me.

I try to control myself, and usually I can. But I wish I didn't feel anything, sometimes. Especially not when everything is so overwhelming, so unbearably sad.

"Don't disappear on me, Dol. Not now." Ro locks his eyes on me and motions with his big tan hands. His brown-gold eyes flicker with fire and light under his dark tangle of hair. His face is all broad planes and rough angles—as solid as a brambled oak, softening only for me. He could climb halfway up the mountain again by now, or halfway down. Holding Ro back is like trying to stop an earthquake or a mud slide. Maybe a train.

But not now. Now he waits. Because he knows me, and he knows where I've gone.

Where I go.

I stare up at the sky, spattered with bursts of gray rain and orange light. It's hard to see past the wide-brimmed hat I stole off the hook behind the Padre's office door. Still, the setting sun is in my eyes, pulsing from behind the clouds, bright and broken.

I remember what we are doing and why we are here.

My birthday. It's my seventeenth birthday tomorrow.

Ro has a present for me, but first we have to climb the hill. He wants to surprise me.

"Give me a clue, Ro." I pull myself up the hill after him, leaving a twisting trail of dried brush and dirt behind me.


I turn to look down the mountain again. I can't stop myself. I like how everything looks from up here.

Peaceful. Smaller. Like a painting, or one of the Padre's impossible puzzles, except there aren't any missing pieces. In the distance below, I can see the yellowing patch of field that belongs to our Mission, then the fringe of green trees, then the deep blue wash of the ocean.


The view is so serene, you almost wouldn't know about The Day. That's why I like it here. If you don't leave the Mission, you don't have to think about it. The Day and the Icons and the Lords. The way they control us.

How powerless we are.

This far up the Tracks, away from the cities, nothing ever changes. This land has always been wild.

A person can feel safe here.


I raise my voice. "It'll be getting dark soon."

He's up the trail, once again. Then I hear a ripple through the brush, and the sound of rolling rock, and he lands behind me, nimble as a mountain goat.

Ro smiles. "I know, Dol."

I take his calloused hand and relax my fingers into his. Instantly, I am flooded with the feeling of Ro—physical contact always makes our connection that much stronger.

He is as warm as the sun behind me. As hot as I am cold. As rough as I am smooth. That's our balance, just one of the invisible threads that tie us together.

It's who we are.

My best-and-only friend and me.

He rummages in his pocket, then pushes something into my hands, suddenly shy. "All right, I'll hurry it up. Your first present."

I look down. A lone blue glass bead rolls between my fingers. A slender leather cord loops in a circle around it.

A necklace.

It's the blue of the sky, of my eyes, of the ocean.

"Ro," I breathe. "It's perfect."

"It reminded me of you. It's the water, see? So you can always keep it with you." His face reddens as he tries to explain, the words sticking in his mouth. "I know—how it makes you feel."

Peaceful. Permanent. Unbroken.

"Bigger helped me with the cord. It used to be part of a saddle." Ro has an eye for things like that, things other people overlook. Bigger, the Mission cook, is the same way, and the two of them are inseparable. Biggest, Bigger's wife, tries her best to keep both of them out of trouble.

"I love it." I thread my arm around his neck in a rough hug. Not so much an embrace as a cuff of arms, the clench of friends and family.

Ro looks embarrassed, all the same. "It's not your whole present. For that you have to climb a little farther."

"But it's not even my birthday yet."

"It's your birthday eve. I thought it was only fair to start tonight. Besides, this kind of present is best after sundown." Ro holds out his hand, a wicked look in his eyes.

"Come on. Just one little hint." I squint up at him and he grins.

"But it's a surprise."

"You're making me hike all this way through the brush."

He laughs. "Okay. It's the last thing you'd ever expect. The very last thing." He bounces up and down a bit where he stands, and I can tell he's practically ready to bolt up the mountain.

"What are you talking about?"

He shakes his head, holding out his hand again. "You'll see."

I take it. There's no getting Ro to talk when he doesn't want to. Besides, his hand in mine is a good thing.

I feel the beating of his heart, the pulse of his adrenaline. Even now, when he's relaxed and hiking, and it's just the two of us. He is a coiled spring. He has no resting state, not really.

Not Ro.

A shadow crosses the hillside, and instinctively we dive for cover under the brush. The ship in the sky is sleek and silver, glinting ominously with the last reflective rays of the setting sun. I shiver, even though I'm not at all cold, and my face is half buried in Ro's warm shoulder.

I can't help it.

Ro murmurs into my ear as if he is talking to one of the Padre's puppies. It's more his tone than the words—that's how you speak to scared animals. "Don't be afraid, Dol. It's headed up the coast, probably to Goldengate. They never come this far inland, not here. They're not coming for us."

"You don't know that." The words sound grim in my mouth, but they're true.

"I do."

He slips his arm around me and we wait like that until the sky is clear.

Because he doesn't know. Not really.

People have hidden in these bushes for centuries, long before us. Long before there were ships in the skies.

First the Chumash lived here, then the Rancheros, then the Spanish missionaries, then the Californians, then the Americans, then the Grass. Which is me, at least since the Padre brought me back as a baby to La Purísima, our old Grass Mission, in the hills beyond the ocean.

These hills.

The Padre tells it like a story; he was on a crew searching for survivors in the silent city after The Day, only there were none. Whole city blocks were quiet as rain. Finally, he heard a tiny sound—so small, he thought he was imagining it—and there I was, crying purple-faced in my crib. He wrapped me in his coat and brought me home, just as he now brings us stray dogs.

It was also the Padre who taught me the history of these hills as we sat by the fire at night, along with the constellations of the stars and the phases of the moon. The names of the people who knew our land before we did.

Maybe it was supposed to be like this. Maybe this, the Occupation, the Embassies, all of it, maybe this is just another part of nature. Like the seasons of a year, or how a caterpillar turns into a cocoon. The water cycle. The tides.

Chumash Rancheros Spaniards Californians Americans Grass.

Sometimes I repeat the names of my people, all the people who have ever lived in my Mission. I say the names and I think, I am them and they are me.

I am the Misíon La Purísima de Concepción de la Santísima Virgen María, founded in Las Californias on the Day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, on the Eighth Day of the Twelfth Month of the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty-Seven. Three hundred years ago.

Chumash Rancheros Spaniards Californians Americans Grass.

When I say the names they're not gone, not to me. Nobody died. Nothing ended. We're still here. I'm still here.

That's all I want. To stay. And for Ro to stay, and the Padre. For us to stay safe, everyone here on the Mission.

But as I look back down the mountain I know that nothing stays, and the gold flush and fade of everything tells me that the sun is setting now.

No one can stop it from going. Not even me.



• To: Ambassador Amare

• From: Dr. Huxley-Clarke

• Subject: Icon Research

We still can't be sure how the Icons work. We know, when the Lords came, thirteen Icons fell from the sky, one landing in each of the Earth's mega- cities. To this day, we still can't get close enough to examine them. Our best guess is that the Icons generate an immensely powerful electromagnetic field that can halt electrical activity within a certain radius. We believe it is this field that enables the Icons to disrupt or disable all modern technology. It appears the Icons can also shut down any and all chemical processes or reactions within the field.

Note: We call this the "shutdown effect."

The Day itself proved the ultimate demonstration of this capability, when, as we all know, the Lords activated the Icons and ended all hope of resistance by making an example of Goldengate, São Paulo, Köln-Bonn, Cairo, Mumbai, and Greater Beijing ... the so-called Silent Cities.

By the end of The Day, the newly arrived colonists gained complete control of all major population centers on the Seven Continents. An estimated one billion lives ended in an instant, the greatest tragedy in history.

May silence bring them peace.



By the time we reach the top of the hillside, the sky has turned dark as the eggplants in the Mission garden.

Ro pulls me up the last slide of rocks. "Now. Close your eyes."

"Ro. What have you done?"

"Nothing bad. Nothing that bad." He looks at me and sighs. "Not this time, anyway. Come on, trust me."

I don't close my eyes. Instead, I look into the shadows beneath the scraggly trees in front of me, where someone has built a shack out of scraps of old signboard and rusting tin. The hood of an ancient tractor is lashed to the legs on a faded poster advertising what looks like running shoes.


That's what the bodiless legs say, in bright white words spilling over the photograph.

"Don't you trust me?" Ro repeats, keeping his eyes on the shack as if he was showing me his most precious possession.

There is no one I trust more. Ro knows that. He also knows I hate surprises.

I close my eyes.

"Careful. Now, duck."

Even with my eyes shut, I know when I am inside the shack. I feel the palmetto roof brush against my hair, and I nearly tumble over the roots of the trees surrounding us.

"Wait a second." He lets go of me. "One. Two. Three. Happy birthday, Dol!"

I open my eyes. I am now holding one end of a string of tiny colored lights that shine in front of me as if they were stars pulled down from the sky itself. The lights weave from my fingers all across the room, in a kind of sparkling circle that begins with me and ends with Ro.

I clap my hands together, lights and all. "Ro! How—? Is that—electric?"

He nods. "Do you like it?" His eyes are twinkling, same as the lights. "Are you surprised?"

"Never in a thousand years would I have guessed it."

"There's more."

He moves to one side. Next to him is a strange-looking contraption with two rusty metal circles connected by a metal bar and a peeling leather seat.

"A bicycle?"

"Sort of. It's a pedal generator. I saw it in a book that the Padre had, at least the plans for it. Took me about three months to find all the parts. Twenty digits, just for the old bike. And look there—"

He points to two objects sitting on a plank. He takes the string of lights from my hand, and I move to touch a smooth metal artifact.

"Pan-a-sonic?" I sound out the faded type on the side of the first object. It's some sort of box, and I pick it up, turning it over in my hands.

He answers proudly. "That's a radio."

I realize what it is as soon as he says the words, and it's all I can do not to drop it. Ro doesn't notice. "People used them to listen to music. I'm not sure it works, though. I haven't tried it yet."

I put it down. I know what a radio is. My mother had one. I remember because it dies every time in the dream. When The Day comes. I touch my tangled brown curls self-consciously.

It's not his fault. He doesn't know. I've never told anyone about the dream, not even the Padre. That's how badly I don't want to remember it.

I change the subject. "And this?" I pick up a tiny silver rectangle, not much bigger than my palm. There is a picture of a lone piece of fruit scratched on one side.

Ro smiles. "It's some kind of memory cell. It plays old songs, right into your ears." He pulls the rectangle out of my hand. "It's unbelievable, like listening to the past. But it only works when it has power."

I shake my head. "I don't understand."

"That's your present. Power. See? I push the pedals like this, and the friction creates energy."

He stands on the bike pedals, then drops onto the seat, pushing furiously. The string of colored lights glows in the room, all around me. I can't help but laugh, it's so magical—and Ro looks so funny and sweaty.

Ro climbs off the bicycle and kneels in front of a small black box. I see that the string of lights attaches neatly to one side. "That's the battery. It stores the power."

"Right here?" The enormous ramifications of what Ro has done begin to hit me. "Ro, we're not supposed to be messing with this stuff. You know using electricity outside the cities is forbidden. What if someone finds out?"

"Who's going to find us? In the middle of a Grass Mission? Up a goat hill, in view of a pig farm? You always say you wish you knew more about what it was like, before The Day. Now you can."

Ro looks earnest, standing there in front of the pile of junk and wires and time.

"Ro," I say, trying to find the words. "I—"

"What?" He sounds defensive.

"It's the best present ever." It's all I can say, but the words don't seem like enough. He did this, for me. He'd rebuild every radio and every bicycle and every memory cell in the world for me, if he could. And if he couldn't, he'd still try if he thought I wanted him to.

That's who Ro is.

"Really? You like it?" He softens, relieved.

I love it like I love you.

That's what I want to tell him. But he's Ro, and he's my best friend. And he'd rather have the mud scrubbed out of his ears than mushy words whispered in them, so I don't say anything at all. Instead, I sink down onto the floor and examine the rest of my presents. Ro's made a frame, out of twisted wire, for my favorite photograph of my mother—the one with dark eyes and a tiny gold cross at her neck.

"Ro. It's beautiful." I finger each curving copper tendril.

"She's beautiful." He shrugs, embarrassed. So I only nod and move on to the next gift, an old book of stories, nicked from the Padre's bookcase. Not the first time we've done that—and I smile at him conspiratorially. Finally, I pick up the music player, examining the white wires. They have soft pieces on the ends, and I fit one into my ear. I look at Ro and laugh, fitting one in his.

Ro clicks a round button on the side of the rectangle. Screaming music streams into the air—I jump and my earpiece goes flying. When I stick it back in, I can almost feel the music. The nest of cardboard and plywood and tin around us is practically vibrating.

We let the music drown out our thoughts and occupy ourselves with singing and shouting—until the door flies open and the night comes tumbling inside. The night, and the Padre.


It's my real name—though no one is supposed to know or say it—and he wields it like a weapon. He must be really angry. The Padre, as red-faced and short as Ro is brown and long, looks like he could flatten us both with one more word.

Excerpted from Icons by Margaret Stohl. Copyright © 2013 Margaret Stohl. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


Meet the Author

Margaret Stohl is a lifelong science fiction fan, former video game designer, and coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her family.

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Icons 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Icons is an excellent novel full of 'big feels' Icons is based primarily on fear. Humans live in a post-invasion world were the the aliens only deal with the Ambassadors and can wipe out entire cities with a single pulse. The cities are remnants of the some of the most inhabited cities in the world. The landscape, described in vivid detail, is a character all its own. The story follows Dol a grass girl who leads a simple life away from the Hole, what used to be Los Angeles. Dol is not a normal teen, she somehow survived The Day when no one else in her family did. Along with Ro, another orphan from The Day, she leads a simple life at the Mission in the grasslands. But not all is what it seems with Dol and Ro. They are a secret hidden away from the Ambassador and the rest of the world. With quiet character moments and pulse pounding action Icons takes you on a journey of self discovery and revolution. The future of the people lays in the hands of four teenagers who have no idea just how powerful they really are. This is a great book for readers of all ages and fans of Stohl's Beautiful Creatures will not be disappointed in the subtle romance mixed in with all the other cool sci-fi/dystopian themes.
BookishThings More than 1 year ago
I started this expecting it to be slow paced like Beautiful Creatures, boy was I wrong. Icons is a great dystopian/sci-fi book. Dol is a character that grows throughout the book. At the beginning she's scared, and doesn't know what to do, or who to trust. She's also not sure what makes her so special to the government and rebels. She slowly begins to take on a strong persona. She wants to know the truth, and will stop at nothing to get it. She makes her closest friend mad at times, but knows that he'll get over it. She NEEDS to find out their purpose when it comes to the Icons. Ro is hot-headed. He lives off of being angry. It's not entirely his fault. It's in his DNA. Lima is probably my favorite character. She's fierce, and says what's on her mind. She uses her intelligence to help her, and her friends, as much as possible. Lucas got on my nerves, a lot. He's flighty, and downright annoying at times. He refuses to believe the facts laid out before him. We are able to learn about how Dol and Ro were raised. They lived a very simple life. From there we are swept into the life of the Embassy. Though the kids are treated like "guests" they are guarded non-stop. Each day they are there more questions pop up about why they have the emotions they do. It seems the only one willing to help is Fortis. (Who is awesome by the way.) They piece together the information they receive. They still make mistakes about where they place their trust, but figure their way around the madness. It's a quick and fun read. Even though there are many moments of uncertainty, you can't help but hope this group finds their purpose. I highly recommend it. And oh the end!!!! I need the next book NOW!!!!
Aelius More than 1 year ago
Too confusing. It was almost like the author was purposefully leaving information out and by like page 100 I was done with the book. I don't know if it's just me or what but I didn't understand just who the Icons were-the original ones- or who the Lord's are just that they came from the sky. What are they, Angel? Alien? What exactly? I'm sure if I finished reading the book I would know but I've lost interest in it. And how exactly does Dol know that she's been betrayed by Lucas when they get taken to the Ambassadors place? And why doesn't Dol want anyone to say or know her full name-first, middle and last? Is it because people know that she survived the Day or that she's an Icon child? And how does she know that she's an Weeper before it's officially confirmed? How does she know what her destiny is just by that dot on her arm when she never read the book the Padre gave her? Like I said before I felt like the author was leaving information out therefore leaving me confused. It's a great storyline and plot but it could've been written better I think.
MariahEllis More than 1 year ago
If you were to ask people what my most identifiable trait is, then they would probably tell you that I literally always have a book with me. It doesn't matter if I am going to the store, driving down the street, or going to the zoo, I never leave home without at least one book. Now, with this being said, sometimes I get into reading slumps where I don't even want to look at a book, let alone read one. This recently happened to me about six months ago, and the book that brought me out of that reading slump was BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. I absolutely loved The Caster Chronicles, and I devoured the series. So I'm sure that you can imagine my excitement when I found out that Margaret Stohl, one of the co-authors of The Caster Chronicles, had written her own series; however, I ended up being disappointed in Stohl's solo career. While I didn't hate ICONS, I certainly did not love it either. The ideas surrounding ICONS was interesting. I enjoy dystopian/apocalyptic fiction immensely, but the opener to the Icons series seemed generic. The main character, Doloria, was incredibly annoying. Dol seemed to focus on all of the wrong things. I did, however, enjoy Dol's best friend, Ro, and her not quite friend but not quite enemy, Tima. They were fun characters that brought life to the book and made it enjoyable by adding some much needed humor. It was interesting that even though I knew who the "bad guys" were, I still found myself sympathizing with them. The actions of the Ambassador and those she was leading seemed logical, and I was able to understand why she was doing what she was. ICONS was a bit lengthy, which made me get bored with it several times. The pacing was very slow, and I think it would be possible to reduce the length of the book by a third and still have the story make sense. While I will not be rushing to the bookstore in order to buy the next book in the series, I will not turn my nose up at it if I am given the opportunity to read it. ICONS was a little ho-hum for me, but I am still interested in what will happen next.
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ChristineyReads More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading the Beautiful Creatures series and was ecstatic to see that the authors were coming out with their solo debut. The first author to come out with her solo debut was Margaret Stohl with her aliens-dystopia series, Icons, which I eagerly snapped up as soon as I had the chance. Unfortunately, her book failed to meet my expectation. It wasn’t as if I had high expectations for her book. I knew that any solo attempt would be radically different than a co-authored book but this… This… wow, I don’t even know where to start. So, I’ll start with what I start with when I’m working on my revision: Her characters were flat… Where was her amazing skill of characterization that created such wonderfully fleshed-out characters in Beautiful Creatures!? Or was it Kami Garcia who was the mastermind behind the characters? Almost every single character was forgettable including the main character. There was nothing about her that I could relate to and I really did not care much for her at all. On top of that, reading the interaction between the Icons was like watching a really bad episode of The Hills where the ensemble would be back-stabbing each other with every chance without showing any real growth. The only character who made an impression on me was the merk and that was only because his diction reminded me of the guy who plays Crowley from Supernatural. And, even then, his character faded into obscurity the more time passed within the pages. I kind of knew that the writing would drag in the book because that’s how it was with Beautiful Creatures for me. BC was one of those books for me that was hard to pick up but it was also equally hard to put down once I got deep enough in it. However, Icons was not only hard to pick up but it was also extremely easy to put down. There were plenty of moments while reading when I wanted to stop reading and pick up another book. It was only through sheer will (I am not exaggerating when I write this) that I was able to get through the entire book. The plot was boring without any tension. I felt no romance between any of the characters nor did the action scenes leave my heart-pounding for more. Worst of all, she didn’t wrap up her debut at all. It left me with more questions than answers (and not in a good way) and that is what I hate the most in books. However, I do believe in sharing the good with the bad so here it is: Margaret Stohl created an amazing world. Her take on the aliens invasion concept was fresh and interesting and I really do wish that she thought up of better characters and plot to help the readers see her vision. Overall, it wasn’t the solid debut I was expecting from a Beautiful Creatures author.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
Plot: I’m going to honest and admit that this plot really confused me in the beginning. It took me a while to get into the story and understand where it was coming from and where it was going. Lots of elements within the story are explained, so the reader must keep on reading in order to grasp the entire picture. And while I understand the meaning of this, it made me frustrated that I could never figure out what is happening. It wasn’t until mid-way through the book that I finally started to understand. It’s not that the plot isn’t good, it just that the way that the story is told, you have to really pay attention. Friendship/Love: This area I felt is develop well with the childhood friendship. It made sense that they would work but…enter love triangle. Boo. The love interest began to frustrate me because while in the beginning this girl knew who she loved and then all of a sudden she is confused. It’s like chick, you either know or you don’t. Geesh. Ending: For me, the ending is quite good with lots of foreshadowing events. I like that it gives the reader that umph to read the next book. I like to read the next book cause I’m anxious to see what will happen. Overall, this book is good. I think it could have been a better read for me, had things been explained a little more. It does take a while to settle into the story, but once your in, the story takes off. ICONS is good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Icons is a powerful and beautiful story that shows how feelings can heal. How feelings can change the world. How feelings - even 'bad' feelings like fear and rage - can be instruments of mass salvation. I highly recommend this book. Icons is a fantastic read for fans of science fiction, dystopian, and for people who like books that make you feel good. Here's the hook for me - it's not the alien invasion, although that's pretty well done, in a fresh way. It's not the love triangles or squares or lines or whatever. Icons is great because of Stohl's portrayal of four real teens who wrestle with real, messy, confusing feelings that seem to them more powerful than they know how to deal with. Sound familiar? It does to me because it describes about every young person on the planet. And most adults! So even though the book is about teens, I, an adult, could relate to and learn from the characters and their struggles. Is Icons slow-paced at times? Yes, but this is because Stohl is building a new world. Is it sometimes confusing? Yes, for the same reasons. Is Icons a good story, in an original setting, with lots of twists, and characters I cared about? Yes!  But more than that, Icons really shines as a subtle exploration of emotions that seem too big to contain - sadness, fear, rage - this book plumbs the depth of real, true, sometimes ugly feelings. And here's the best part - Icons turns these complex feelings into strengths rather than weaknesses. Teens - well, adults too - often feel like if they are sad, something's wrong with them. If they lose their temper, they are bad people. If they are introverted or shy, they are broken. Too often, we are taught that emotions are to be suppressed, hidden, shut down, or feared. I'll say it again: Icons is an exciting and beautiful story that shows how feelings, even 'bad' feelings, can save an individual, save a friend, and even change the world. I gave Icons four stars because, to me, it's rough around the edges. Stohl is building a new world, and that's hard to do. Having said that, the imperfections Icons aren’t very distracting – in fact, they become part of the appeal of the book. Life, like Icons, is complicated, and sometimes messy. But it’s still incredible. Now, on more technical notes, as a HUGE science fiction fan, I was concerned about reading a supposedly YA book. I read Hunger Games and immediately recognized it as a watered down rip-off of Battle Royale, the Japanese book that started it all (great and also raw). I read Harry Potter and while it was entertaining, I was initially appalled that this world could be put in the same ‘Fantasy’ category as Tolkien. So, I'm kind of particular about originality. Icons, to me, is the most original take on the well-worn alien invasion trope I've seen in a long time. It's not dumbed down - which could be a problem for some, but I appreciated it. The ability of a race to completely stop your heart? That's terrifying. Yes, the sci-fi aspects are a little complicated to get your mind around, but that's because THEY ARE ORIGINAL! And that's a good thing! I don't want another book where the aliens are called "others" and they use an EMP blast from outer space, and where they simply take over human bodies as hosts (I'm looking at you, Yancey and Meyer, ugh). Are those authors even trying??  With Icons, Stohl tries harder to do something new, and I appreciated that. Overall, I would recommend Icons to fans of science fiction, and try to slip it into any young person’s hands, in hopes that they can find strength in their big feelings, and turn the sometimes scary and intimidating emotions into something positive, powerful and life-changing.
AudiobookReviewer More than 1 year ago
Icons by Margaret Stohl is set in a world run by aliens that have dominated humans. The majority of human race was eliminated and the remaining people are enslaved. The main character Dol and her childhood companion Ro are special in some way unknown precisely to them. Through the course of the novel they meet others like themselves and try to figure out who they are. This is of course with the backdrop of a rebellion to overthrow the alien overlords. This novel keeps the listeners attention and is filled with action. The characters continue to move and face more challenges as they try to figure out what is actually going on around them. My favorite characters in this novel were actually Doc and Fortis even though they are not the main characters. Doc is especially well done because of the computerized tone of his voice. The logic based speech added a lot of humor to the story. One of the most interesting aspects of this novel is how it is arranged. Between the main chapters of the story told from the perspective of Dol runs a third person reading of documents. These in-between readings provide the listener with clues about the story and add another layer of information. This is great because the main characters of the story are mostly unknowledgeable. With these in between readings, the listener can couple what the characters are doing and their knowledge with this additional insight. It helps the listener make their own conclusions about the events and the world. What I actually found to be annoying was that this is a young adult novel in which the characters are not only young as expected but also naïve and behave as such. It’s sometimes difficult to understand the main characters’ feelings and actions. There are some incongruous aspects when characters suddenly seem to change the way they are. I didn’t feel like this about the other characters. I believe the narrator, Therese Plummer, did a great job with the voice of the different characters. They were clearly different. I did find the main character’s voice to be annoying, but I can’t tell if that is because of the main character or the narrator. The emotion that Dol embodies may be the cause of my irritation toward her voice. I though the rest were great. The production was well done, especially Doc’s voice the in-between readings were great. Audiobook provided for review by the publisher. Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the plot disjointed and confusing. The characters were boring and didn't seem fully developed. I had a hard time enjoying this book even though the premise sounded promising.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Aliens and the end of the world and kids with psychic powers....And it was still dull as dishwater.
diggie1 More than 1 year ago
Very good book. Just didn't really get the part about the Ambassadors keeping humans around. I will definitely check out the next book to see where the story goes.
sdnatasha More than 1 year ago
This is going to be tough to really describe, but I'm going to make it short because I don't want to blast the book. It's not like that at all. I'm just not sure about the style of writing in this book. Unfortunately, I don't feel a huge connection with the characters, although they are somewhat interesting, especially Furo Costas. I like sci-fi and there are some promising factors in this, but I'm just not sure the pace of the book is fast enough to get people really interested to read on, even though I do plan on reading on myself, because basically I'm still interested in what's going to happen. There are times when the emotion that plays out feels forced, too, in the way she describes how Dol feels and how she feels the emotions of those around her. It can be a little confusing at times. I don't hate the book, though. I just hope the pace and the storyline are more clear and the characters more in depth in the sequel(s).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was pedictable and had too many endings. It felt a little anti-climatic, but didn't focus on the teen love-triangle angst that most authors have used to excess. It was a good light read for a dystopian ya book.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
I loved reading the Beautiful Creatures series that author Margaret Stohl co-wrote and was super interested in starting the first book of her new series. I only skimmed what the novel was about, got the gist of the plot, and dove right in. From start to finish I was left on the edge of my seat. Al I can say is that this book was awesome. This book was great. This book deserves a sequel that is just as fantastic. What didn’t I love about it? Icons is Rick Yancey’s The Fifth Wave meets Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy. Icons takes place in a future where aliens invaded the Earth and created contraptions that give them the ability to control how long you live. Main character Dol has lived since the Day and has been living in the countryside, far away from the Sympas, the cities and the Icons. On Dol’s birthday Sympa soldiers invade the safe haven the Padre created and in the end, capture Dol and her best friend Ro. The two are taken to the Embassy. Immediately Dol and Ro are worried and have many questions like what their new lives in the Embassy entail. While in the Embassy, Dol and Ro meet a captured girl named Tima and meet Ambassador Amare’s son, Lucas who Dol is drawn to. What brings them all together are the strange birthmarks that are on each person and the strange abilities that they all have. Dol can feel emotions and she knows that the others can do superhuman things as well. After giving up a book that might have had all the answers Dol could ever need, the group begins to wonder if they are part of something larger than themselves and if their sudden meeting is not so much of a coincidence as they believe.  Icons throws you right into action, mystery and a seriously fast pace. The first hundred-or-so pages seriously sent my mind spinning and had me hooked. The novel starts with a prologue that takes place on the Day when Dol’s entire family drops dead and the Icons show off their true power. As if that isn’t insane enough (and leaves readers thinking “What just happened…?”) the novel slows down as Dol and Ro celebrate Dol’s birthday. Everything seems fine and happy, it’s the future and it all seems pleasant until the Sympas show up and there’s action and murder all over the place. Totally awesome-sauce (except for all the death… death is only okay in literature guys…). The one thing that makes Icons very different than most novels I’ve read are the classified documents that come before every single chapter. They are sometimes letters between the Ambassador and other character that have transcripts of events or articles from before the Day or snippets from the book that Dol gave away. It’s really cool and makes the novel feel really authentic and real. I was worried about the authenticity of the novel at first, but after all of this, it became clear that Icons is as authentic as it gets. The characters in Icons are ones that I think are memorable and will leave readers wanting to know what happens next to them. Throughout my time reading Icons all I could think about were the characters and how much I loved and cared for them. When something bad happened I was already freaking out for them and hoping that they would survive until the end of the book. I’ll just add in now that while reading Icons keep in mind that your new favorite characters will be thrown into danger more times than you can count. The romance in Icons is realistic in that it isn’t instant. It takes time for relationships between Dol and other characters to be established and for that I’m thankful. Dol’s love interests seriously took my heart and wrung it. I’m envious of her. I’d recommend Icons to readers that are looking for a dystopian novel with a twist, readers who are fans of alien invasions and readers who want a story about love and death.
anniemichelle More than 1 year ago
I loved, loved this book, loved the characters and the story line. This book is about young people who are just trying to survive in a world that has been taken over by 13 space ships …the Icons landed on earth and destroyed billions of people with electricity, that stops peoples hearts, Now they control everything and everyone, there were a few people who survived and they are who this story is about. Dol, Ro, Lucas and Tima each has a tattoo and a special skill, together what can these teenagers accomplish? I am hugely excited that there will be more books for me to be thrilled by! Do yourself a favor and go pick up this book
Addicted_Readers More than 1 year ago
2.5 - 3 Stars First I have to say, Icons was NOT what I was expecting, AT ALL! It wasn't the worse book I've ever read, but it's was by far not the best or even close either! Icons was a HIGHLY Anticipated book for me, and when I was Lucky enough to win a copy on Winter Haven Books, I was SO excited & couldn't wait to start it. Unfortunately Icons was NOTHING like I thought, and even worse then I could of imagined! Okay, where do I start? The writing was not that bad, really I didn't think it was bad at all, but the plot is what fell real short! There was really no action, and the action that was there was so boring, I could barely even finish the book! But I stuck with it in hopes it would get better, It didn't, not for me anyway! It was too confusing with everything going on, all the secrets that were being hidden, not knowing what the Icons powers were and how they were all related and came too be, and the aliens or should I say The Lords as they call them, did not even make an appearance in this book, OR not one that I can remember! This book could of been AMAZING if it was more thought out with more/better action, and better schemes on the Lords/ambassadors part. And if everything was explain better and maybe even a little earlier then it was. Even after I finished this book I still did NOT have all my questions answered and still confused on a lot of parts ( I don't want to say what I was still confused on b/c it would spoil the book ). I mean their was so many reasons why this book did NOT work out for me! I was expecting an action-packed thriller that would leave me on the edge of my seat! Instead I got a bunch of boring bratty kids fighting with each other and turning on each other at every chance they got! Which was SO annoying!! They were ALL so jealous of each other throughout almost the whole book that I wasn't even able to get to know who some of the characters were because they were always hating on each other! The romance, if that's what you call it was TERRIBLE! And I really hate to say bad things about books but I have to call it like I see it! I know their was suppose to be romance, but really their wasn't that much and when their was it seemed forced and wrong, like it didn't feel right and really was a big turn off! I was so disappointed in this book, I wanted to love it, but I just couldn't! Their was just too many things wrong with this book, that I couldn't overlook!
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
ICONS started off in a weird way, but it still kept me interested. I just felt like a person who was dropped in the middle of a story, someone's life, without any clue on what the hell is going on. See, this could go both ways, either it makes the readers excited and want to read more to figure out what's going on, or the reader loses interest. Fortunately, the first half of the novel managed to keep me interested. I am not one to give up easily, especially when it comes to dystopian novels. However the second half.. and especially towards the end, I started to grow restless and praying for when the book would just end. Even now, I just don't really get the whole point behind the Icon's children. Dol, the main protagonist, along with Ro, Tima, and Lucas each have a specific powerful feeling they can tap into or channel. I personally don't know the point of the whole feelings.. it does not contribute one bit to the plot or make them any special. Yes, these traits make them have some powers, but why did the author make us read countless pages about their feelings when the feelings themselves don't contribute to the plot? I know there is the possibility of Dol's use of sorrow that can allow her to read people's minds, but she never really uses it, also the author doesn't really explore that point. Something I also have to point out is the mislabeling of the novel, yes the alien invasion mark it as sci-fi or post-apocalyptic, but possessing power obviously puts it under fantasy at least right? or paranormal? I don't like being mislead by the genre categorization. This is another one of those hefty books I've been reading lately, and it is also a book that would have been better off reducing the page numbers by at least 100. Almost 450 pages is a bit too long for a book I could personally explain in a page or two. There were too many unnecessary things that made the whole plot slow down. Also the romance, while it barely took up much space in the plot, was a bit too insta-love for me but with a side of angst because of Dol's friend Ro. To wrap this up, this book didn't impress me in the slightest bit. I have tried reading Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures but also found the same slow pacing problem there. It seems that Stohl's writing doesn't appeal to me. However, I do recommend you guys to at least pick it up and try reading it, especially fans of her previous work. 
Sarah_UK1 More than 1 year ago
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction/Blue Door, Voyager and Netgalley.) 16 years ago, 13 strange metallic ‘Icon’s’ dropped from the sky, and situated themselves in the largely populated areas of the world, killing millions of people, and turning others into slaves. 17-year-old’s Dol and Ro live in the wilds outside of one of these epicentres, away from the Embassy and the ‘Sympas’ (sympathisers who have become traitors to humanity). Dol and Ro are special though, on Dol’s wrist is a small blue dot, and on Ro’s wrist are two red dots, which can be connected. When Dol’s adopted family are killed and she is kidnapped, Ro follows her and tries to rescue her, only to find themselves both captured. What they are about to realise though is that they are not the only ones with these special dots. What do the dots mean? How many people have them? How are they linked to the Icons? And can Dol and Ro really change things for the better? This was an okay story, but I have so many questions at the end of it that it might just drive me crazy! Dol and Ro were both okay characters, although Ro had serious anger management issues. I think that this was to do the whole ‘icon child’(dots) thing, but even so, his temper was pretty fierce. I didn’t really feel anything for Dol at all, she was a bit boring if anything. The other two Icon children that we met were Lucas and Tima. I liked Lucas at first, then I didn’t like him, and I didn’t really like Tima at all. The group dynamics were just difficult, and someone always seemed to be irritating someone else, and Ro’s temper and Tima’s jealousy and bitterness did not help matters. The four ‘Icon children’ had these dots on their wrists, but I didn’t really understand the point of them – they did this weird thing they called ‘bonding’ where they held their wrists together, dot-to-dot, and this was a really intimate thing to do –almost like sex!! I’m not sure why they did this, other than it being something to do with emotions – Dol did it to calm Ro, or how they figured out that they could do this. I didn’t really understand why there were ‘Icon children’ at all, and why were there only 4 icon children when there were 13 icons? Baffling. We also got the obligatory love triangle/square. Dol mentions about loving Ro, but isn’t sure if they can go from being best friends to being something more, never mind that they do this bonding thing with their dots. But then she’s off with Lucas, and he is trying to get her to bind dots with him (Gosh that sounds ridiculous!). Then we have Tima who is obviously in love with Lucas, and so not happy that him and Dol want to bump dots, and Ro who obviously loves Dol, and wants her to only want his dots (sorry, the dots thing amuses me, I wonder if Lucas’ dots are better than Ro’s as Lucas has 3 and Ro only has 2?). I have to say that my biggest complaint with this book was the world building. I didn’t understand why the Icon’s had arrived or who really caused their arrival, I didn’t really understand why some people died and some didn’t, I didn’t get why Dol and Ro were living out in the middle of nowhere and how this was even possible. I didn’t really understand who was in charge, and why, who the ‘Lords’ were (think they might have been the aliens)…this list goes on, and on. I’m confused to say the least. Thankfully the book did have an end. The four Icon children did achieve something after all this, although it was very much the start of the revolution rather than the end. I suspect though that all four icon children will not survive this entire series, I just hope that we don’t take on one icon per book, because that would be a very lengthy series, and I really just want some answers! Overall; a confusing and sometimes bizarre dystopian novel, which raises more questions than it answers. 6.5 out of 10.
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