By: Kat Falls
Published: September 24, 2013 by Scholastic
Source: ARC from Netgalley, given by publisher for review (Thanks!!)
(Goodreads / Amazon)
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In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.MY REVIEW:
America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.
Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.
Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.
I originally requested this book because it sounded zombie-ish, apocalyptic in nature and I love books like that. However the author and Goodreads describes it as "sci-fi-adventure". I LOVED it! It definitely exceeded my expectations. It was very unique in it's take on zombie's which are called ferals. I don't want to give anything away that might ruin your journey through the book so I will leave it as generic as I can but there is so much more involved in these ferals than just eating other people. These aren't brain hungry zombies. Yes, some go insane, but it's all very animalistic, attacking and reacting based on animal instincts.
Initially the ferae plague wipes out a ton of the population and then those that are left begin being infected, by bite, either from animals or other humans that have the ferae virus and then mutation starts. There are 3 phases to the ferae virus - infection, mutation, psychosis. And these stages can take days, months or even years to progress to psychosis. The company who is at fault for the release of the ferae virus built a wall seperating the west of the United States from the East, about at the Mississippi River, as a protection between the feral zone and the uninfected people. Though the company is at fault for creating the virus, they haven't sought after finding a cure themselves. Instead the leader of the company hides away afraid of being infected. There is one doctor who is trying to find a cure and he is funded by the corporation but there are so many different strains of the virus, 50 to be exact, and he lacks 32 samples of strains he knows exist. Before a cure can be found samples of all strains must be collected and recorded.
Talk about a host of interesting characters and story backgrounds!! This story is rich with them. The main character, Lane, lives a very comfortable life behind the wall. Her mom died of cancer and her dad is an art collector but he's also raised Lane to know how to protect herself and live off the land should the plague ever reach over the wall too. So when she is given the opportunity to save her dad she leaves the safety of her home to go into the feral zone desperate to save her only living parent. Beyond the wall she meets Everson, a line guard in the military, someone who is polite and trustworthy and who wants to help her. She also meets Rafe, so wild and unpredictable she should stay far away from him, but he knows the feral zone having lived in it his whole 18+ years and can be her guide to finding her Dad.
There were lots of unexpected twists and gut wrenching moments. What I love about books like this is that at the bottom of every zombie apocalypse themed book always lies the quest to protect humanity. What makes someone human? Is it clean blood? Is it a humane heart? Does it make you more human or less to beat to death someone who is infected because they might turn into a feral? These blurred lines make it hard to trust others and to make the right decisions beyond the safety of the wall.
Excellent story! I can't wait to see what happens next!!
"When you're worried about someone you love, you don't care about anyone else's health - sometimes not even your own."
"With that face, and that lean form, he was already the prettiest person in any given room. Did he really need a boost up to jaw-dropping?"
Final Rating - 5 stars!
This post is part of the ARC Thursday feature on Words Fueled by Love.