Slightly dystopian theme? Mystery? A crazy virus? Isolation? Mmmm, sounds like my kind of read! I started reading this around the same time I was reading The Age of Miracles, which meant I got THOROUGHLY confused (I’m easily confused). The similarities: families with kids cut off from the rest of the world (in very different ways). Anyway! I had great expectations for this book. Expectation that left me wanting.
Kaelyn lives on a small island in a tight-knit community with her family. A few months prior to the start of our tale, she let her best friend leave for college without telling him how much she loved him, even though their friendship damaged. Then, a virus takes hold of the island. First there’s the coughing and sniffing – but then, when you’re at your sickest, your only desire is to be with people, and spread the virus even further. As the island is slowly cut-off from the mainland and the islanders are left to fend for themselves against the virus and each other. Strange alliances are formed and new friendships born.
It’s only in writing this review that I’ve discovered this book not the stand-alone I thought it was but rather part of a trilogy (then again, what isn’t these days?). I was really drawn to the idea of a mysterious illness that wipes out people in just a matter of days. And that the tension of the book didn’t end there. The virus results in chaos on the island – looting, vigilantes and destruction. Setting on an island further increases the sense of intense isolation and loneliness. The book is written as a series of letters to her former BFF, Leo.
The story had a good pace and towards the end, it felt like it had finally gathered enough steam for some kind of amazing, explosive ending. Or a crushing ending that would leave you sobbing. But, from second last to the last chapter, it just lost all power and withered out. Which was immensely annoying when I thought it was a stand-alone and is almost more annoying now that I know it’s a trilogy. It’s one of those reads you can’t really tell if it was planned as a trilogy or they just shoved two books on at the end once the first book did reasonably well.
Either way, the ending of a book has great power of the rest of it. I’m not sure if I’ll read the next two. Not only because I didn’t particularly become attached to Kaelyn, but because I don’t feel like hassling through the same epic build-ups only for the weakest of endings.
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