Author: Malinda Lo
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date: 09/18/12
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: The main reason I disliked this book was that it started out so promising and then became unbearable. The first fifty pages could make a good short story as they are, and the following 330 have little to contribute in terms of interesting content, plot, or character development. I finished the first part in one sitting, excitedly flipping pages to learn more about the mysterious dying birds as well as the extreme panic reaction they caused. One of the more intriguing ideas set in motion in the first part of this book is how panic can change an entire society in a matter of days, and then what that society does when it realizes the panic was not based on truth and regrets its actions. I was hoping the rest of the book would develop these concepts and the characters’ role in them, but instead it went off on what felt like a tangent of typical science fiction tropes such as “evolving” better humans, secret government labs and, of course, aliens.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book will be memorable for me because I was so disappointed. I recommend the first fifty pages, but after that people might as well put down the book and pretend it was a short story. Adaptation begins with an intriguing premise and thrilling pace. Two San Francisco teenagers are waiting in a Phoenix airport after a debate tournament when suddenly flocks of birds start falling dead from the sky and crashing into airplanes. As more and more planes go down, the country falls into an anarchist panic and nowhere is safe. Unfortunately, this wonderful and suspenseful beginning gets cut off about fifty pages into the book, when the two main characters crash and the reader is given a “28 days later.” I was sorely disappointed when the entire rest of the book wandered into a slow paced, mostly clichéd plot of scifi tropes and dull navel-gazing. The exciting events of the first fifty pages were explained away in general terms by government experimentation and aliens, while the bulk of the book focused on reporting the characters emotions over and over. Even the almost interesting romantic interest subplot faded away and fell apart by the end.
Cover: I found the cover rather unpleasant. I almost didn’t get the book because of it. The cover on my copy shows a pale, greenish girl with rolled back eyes who looks like she is about to faint into some unwholesome water. I find the trend of drowning girls on covers a bit unsettling, and this is probably the worst example so far, especially since it has absolutely nothing to do with what happens in the book. I disliked the cover so much that I took it off and hid it under my bed while reading.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 1Q How did it get published?
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
tags: science fiction / suspense / ya lit