Sunday, 23 June 2013

Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

"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."

ARC provided by netgalley. 

First the things I liked:

Clover was a relatable and developed character, as was West (and Mango!).
The initial plot is really compelling: a deadly virus, a cure from the future, a Big Brother dystopia! It didn't hold up for long...
Jude and Clover's relationship (though it could be more developed, as everything else).

The things I didn't like:

The pacing was slow or uneven, at best. A lot of what happened was unnecessarily confusing. It was incredibly frustrating.
How the whole time travelling thing works. It could have been so cool! Instead it's just confusing and absurd.
The whole Minority Report plot. I've seen Minority Report. I don't need to read a re-hash of it. And it wasn't just some, "Oh, it was kind of like Minority Report", no, it was basically Minority Report.
The lack of description. Clover, West and Mango are well developed, everyone else is basically just a name and a vague set of details. The same goes for the worldbuilding, it's all left too vague.
I suppose as a consequence of being walled up there isn't much mention of anywhere else, still there is access to computers and information, so why is this a case of We All Live In America?

In the end, I didn't feel as if I'd read anything new. It was just a rehash of the usual dystopian clichés, apart from Clover who was an autistic character (though using her autism as some kind of Rainman super power/MacGuffin, wasn't that great).
There is a cliffhanger, more frustrating than usual because you feel like this book wasn't properly developed so the development could occur in the sequels. All that does is not grab my interest to want to read the sequel...

Shaunta Grimes' official site

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Viral Nation

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