Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Reviews: Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes and All My Secrets by Sophie McKenzie

Title: Viral Nation
Author: Shaunta Grimes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Berkley via NetGalley

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.
Review by Nara

I'm not really 100% sure why I couldn't get into this book- maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this type of novel at the time I read it. It wasn't badly written per se, but it wasn't particularly engaging, and I just felt like I didn't want to waste my time on a relatively long book that I wasn't enjoying that much- especially when there are so many other books that I could have been reading.

On the plus side for diversity, main character Clover is autistic, and she has a service dog that helps her out when she gets overwhelmed. To be completely honest, I can't actually remember at all whether this was portrayed properly- the book was just really unmemorable for me.

All that being said, I don't think I got up to the bit with time travel in it, so maybe it's actually a lot better once you get to the more sci-fi side of things.

Did not finish
Overall: 6/10
Plot: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
World Building: 2/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5

Title: All My Secrets
Author: Sophie Mckenzie
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Source: Simon & Schuster

A brand new title from bestselling, award-winning author, Sophie McKenzie.

The shocking reality behind a GBP10 million inheritance turns Evie Brown's world on its head. Unable to find out the truth from her parents, Evie ends up on the mysterious island of Lightsea, where her desire for answers leads her towards a series of revelations that threaten everything she holds dear ...including her life.

To be honest, this book and I didn't really get along. Mostly, I think this is because this book's protagonist and I didn't really get along. She's got to be one of the most ridiculously immature teenagers I've seen in any book. So, this lawyer turns up on her doorstep and tells her she's inherited a crapload of money from her birth mother- and instead of just taking the money and living comfortably with the parents she's known since birth, she gets pissed off at her parents (which I suppose is understandable), and then runs off to find her uncle i.e. her mother's brother (wtf). Alright, sure, because she found out her parents were lying to her, she just goes and stays with this random man. Totally safe.

That being said, why the hell didn't the parents tell her earlier that she's adopted? Honestly, she's old enough to know. Although given her complete overreaction, maybe they were justified.

Also, I don't know about anyone else, but I thought the romance was so unnecessary. By which I mean it literally should be removed completely. The book is quite short, and given that it's already got a mystery/thriller aspect driving it, the romance just distracted from the story (not that the story itself was that interesting or well developed or logical at all to be totally honest). There wasn't any time to develop it properly in so few pages, and the author just throws in this shitty love triangle that does not work on either side.

Yeah, sorry. I really can't recommend this book.

Didn't like it
Overall: 2/10
Plot: 1/5
Romance: 0/5
Writing: 1.5/5
Characters: 1/5
Cover: 2/5