Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book review - Plague Land

Title: Plague Land
Author: Alex Scarrow
Genre: horror/post-apocalypse
Similar books: The Rain by Virginia Bergin
                      Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward
so many missed opportunities

Summary (provided by publisher): In this thrilling young adult horror novel from the author of the TimeRiders series the only thing worse than a virus that can kill is a virus that can think.
The reports start slowly at first: an outbreak in Africa at the end of the evening news, as a headline at the bottom of a website. They’re easy to ignore, and most people do just that. Except for Leon. His mom shakes off the concerns , sure that they shouldn’t be worried about some illness on a distant continent. Until one week later, the virus hits England and chaos ensues, dotting the English countryside with the haunting remains of liquefied victims.
But what scares Leon the most is the way the virus moves- like it’s adapting. Like it has an agenda. If Leon’s going to fight back, he’ll need a plan. But first, he needs to stay alive.

My opinion: My biggest problem with this book is scope. Within the first few chapters I couldn't see how it could possibly end with anything other than the complete annihilation of all life on earth. The virus kills to quickly, spreads too easily. And while we're given an explanation for survivors, it's not a particularly good or in depth one. I found the quick spread and, in particular, the quick evolution of the illness particularly hard to believe. I could accept that stretch if the subtext had been more coherent. But the underlying messages were all over the place. The subtext introduces a number of important messages but doesn't bring any of them to any sort of conclusion. I'd almost have liked this book better if it had been more bleak, more along the lines of The Road. Show us humans determined to keep going even when we know they are ultimately doomed. Scarrow toys with this idea but tempers it with real hope of survival, leaving us with a graphic but ultimately toothless tale.

More information: Plague Land releases December 1.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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