Sunday, August 6, 2017

Blight by Alexandra Duncan

Title: Blight
Author: Alexandra Duncan
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Source: Greenwillow via Edelweiss

Seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres has lived on the AgraStar farm north of Atlanta since she was found outside the gates at the age of five. Now she’s part of the security force guarding the fence and watching for scavengers—people who would rather steal genetically engineered food from the company than work for it. When a group of such rebels accidentally sets off an explosion in the research compound, it releases into the air a blight that kills every living thing in its path—including humans. With blight-resistant seeds in her pocket, Tempest teams up with a scavenger boy named Alder and runs for help. But when they finally arrive at AgraStar headquarters, they discover that there’s an even bigger plot behind the blight—and it’s up to them to stop it from happening again. A fast-paced action-adventure story that is Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake meets Nancy Farmer’s House of the Scorpion.
Review by Nara

Blight was an excellent novel to follow up on Alexandra Duncan's debut series, showing that she is certainly a new voice in science fiction to keep an eye on.

While the story itself was somewhat generic, Duncan's execution of the premise was very good. The pacing is excellently done, making it difficult to put it down, and it's smooth enough that you can read it in one sitting without getting bored. Character development is another thing that is well done, just as I remember from Salvage. Tempest is a character that is easy to like, despite some of her choices being a bit questionable. I did also like that there's not really a romance, as it would have seemed inappropriate considering what happens at the start of the novel (read and find out haha).

I actually might have leaned towards giving the novel a higher rating, except that the ending was much too open. Many, many questions were left unanswered, and looking at Goodreads, it seems that the novel is supposedly a standalone. If this were part of a series, that ending may be understandable, but as it is, I am certainly not satisfied with that ending. The other more minor point was that the world building was perhaps a little underdeveloped.

All in all, a well rounded novel from a talented science fiction writer. I'll be interested in seeing what else she comes up with, although I would certainly prefer it if her endings became more conclusive.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 2/5