Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: Viral Nation

Viral NationTitle: Viral Nation
Author: Shaunta Grimes
Series: Viral Nation
Volume: 1

Why I Read It: This dystopian had a lot of really good reviews, and I do like a good dystopian.

A Quick Summary: A plague has devastated the world, and all of the survivors must take a daily suppressant to prevent the virus from killing them, even years later. Brilliant, autistic Clover is denied entrance to high school because she refuses to be parted from her service dog, Mango, and instead sent to an organisation that collects information about crimes from the future and prevents them from happening in the present. She is sent forward in time to collect this information. When her brother- and caretaker- West shows up on one of the lists, because he is going to commit murder, she knows there must be something wrong. Her brother would never kill anyone. She starts to question whether or not their are flaws in the system that has kept the nation stable, and begins to uncover dangerous information about the justice system, time travel and even the plague suppressant.

What I Thought: Overall, this one was a good read. I could root for the main characters, though I did find some of their motives a little confusing. It's hard to explain why... Some of it might be because this is the first book of a trilogy, so maybe we're not supposed to know all of the motives. Clover was a readable protagonist, though she had her moments where I couldn't really follow what she was thinking (West and the suppressant -minor spoiler- couldn't she have waited to see if the sores showed up before dosing him with the suppressant? It works on people who already have the virus, so I wasn't sure why she didn't wait to see, since they had already been told that people would go through withdrawl, and West clearly was- it wasn't the virus). There was something that confused me about Clover's autism too. She shuts down when exposed to stressful/overwhelming situations (ex. situations with a lot of noise), but the time traveling didn't seem to bother her, when I feel as though anyone would have been overwhelmed by that. But I'm nit-picking a little. There were some qualities to this book that I enjoyed. The idea of using the virus-suppressant as a method for controlling the population, and how much control having monopoly over a vital resource gives the government was interesting to see. Foster City sounded like a really horrible place to grow up, and obviously some of the citizens aren't treated very well. I feel like the story was a pretty simple one, even with all of the technicalities of time travel. So while the story wasn't completely original (a lot of the story is standard dystopian tropes), I still found it an enjoyable read.

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