Monday, July 15, 2013

Quarantine: The Loners (Quarantine #1) by Lex Thomas

First in Quarantine series
416p.
Published by EgmontUSA
Source: From Media Masters for review
It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning. 
A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.

In this frighteningly dark and captivating novel, Lex Thomas locks readers inside a school where kids don’t fight to be popular, they fight to stay alive.
My thoughts:
 This is a different kind of dystopian tale in which the alternate society is limited to a high school where teens are held captive. A virus is let loose that kills adults and is transmitted by the teens. They are left to their own devices and fed at intervals by the government by drops. They are kept within the walls of the school by a quarantine tent and the army. The kids form their own societies with "gangs". It's very Lord of the Flies kind of society.

While I did like the inventiveness about this society I was thinking it would be a character driven book. While this is not entirely wrong, it didn't really feel like an exploration of a certain character or a society. It was mostly about the action and how kids turned on each other quite easily. It was more about that than the coming together of groups for protection or why they chose their behavior. I did like the main character of David but couldn't honestly understand his brother Will. His jealousy just seemed ungenuine and a bit on the annoying side. However, I did like the way Will grew, it just happened a bit late in the book for me to really enjoy this character. There was also a love triangle that didn't quite work for me either, but then I'm not a fan of those anyway.

I did have a problem with this world quite a bit. I can suspend belief with the best of them, but there was just too much that I couldn't ignore. I can deal with the fact that the government acted so quickly. There could be a back story about that we are unaware. Also, where were the parents to fight for the kids? Again that could be backstory so I can accept that much. What I couldn't understand is that the researchers/government now had a microcosm society as well as excellent test subjects to study. I couldn't imagine them not studying what is so dangerous to most of society. You should also have more than one generation (oddly enough no one got pregnant which I couldn't buy) normally and could see how the virus affected infants. Also, the injuries would have killed those kids faster than someone being murdered. With the filth many lived in, the simplest scratch could mean death. There were too many severe injuries for them to not be killed by infection.

As an adventure I can see YA crowd enjoying the adventure and the action. I know a lot of people will love it for that. I can give it 3 stars for that alone. It is quite the adventure. It also ends in a way that makes me curious for the next book. No cliffies, but a huge open thread that makes you want to know more. I just need a bit more characterization and believable world building for me to rate it higher in those areas.

22 comments:

  1. I remember looking into this when it released but opting not to read it because of the mixed reviews and I'm glad. While this has its promising moments, I know I wouldn't enjoy it all that much. Wonderful review, Melissa!

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    1. I can see it appealing to those that like a lot of action. :)

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  2. Meh! Not for me I don't think. I think I would have several problems with it but I think your review is fantastic!

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  3. Yet another absent parent book? Because the majority of parents would fight tooth and nail for their kids, especially if their kids were in danger. I can definitely see the YAs enjoying this one, though.

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    1. Well, yes, but there are reasons and I was wondering if something happened to them. We just don't get the answers in this book about that, but might later on...

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  4. Sounds like a fairly enjoyable read. I don't think it's the right choice for me though, as I'm with you on wanting more character development and focus!

    -Lauren

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    1. I am more character oriented in books, me thinks.. :)

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  5. The inventiveness of the society and the characters driving the book sounds great to me.

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    1. You might enjoy it. I know a lot of people did love it a lot.

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  6. Did you know that this book is written by two different authors? I met them last year at the Austin Teen book Festival. Very nice guys. I still have to read this book.

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    1. Yes, 2 authors! I'd like to know what you think. :)

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  7. This sounds a bit like a behavioral study.. how people act under stress and in danger, how they keep together or turn on each other, and I'm very curious about that kind of thing. So even though it doesn't really explore a single character, it still sounds interesting enough for me. Plus, I'm totally drawn to that cover.

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    1. I think that is why not having enough character study bothered me. I wanted to more inner dialogue or something to show me who these kids were deeper down. Hope you get and enjoy!

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  8. Hmmm. I'm thinking this isn't the book for me Melissa. I'm a character-driven girl all the way, so the focus on the action isn't quite as interesting for me, and then all the questions about the parents and the government would drive me crazy. And you're right, I think pregnancy would likely be a rather prominent issue in a society like this!

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    1. Yes, you might be let down a bit about the character bits and the unanswered questions. You still might enjoy the action though. :)

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  9. I confess I don't know if it could be my kind of books...

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  10. Am I wrong or does this sound a little like a dystopian Lord of the Flies? Great review Melissa, I do love dystopian but am not sure about this one.

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  11. Oh no unbelieveable world building kills a read for me everytime!

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  12. I'm a germaphobe and for that reason I didn't really consider reading this, it would set me off a bit. It's too bad the world building had so many holes though, it sounds like it could have been a pretty decent book if some things had been put together a little better.

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  13. I did read the synopsis of this book and was afraid for the two brothers. I don't think this series is for me. I never read Lord of the Flies but it never interested me. I don't like kids turning on each other and descending into chaos. I like kids fighting the government and finding their way. Not my books. Plus I love character driven novels. Great review! Thanks for sharing the flaws!!

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