Review Detail

4.7 7
Young Adult Fiction 431
A dystopian thriller that will keep your heart racing!
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Alex is on a mission. Diagnosed with a brain tumor that remains unaffected by chemo, radiation, and various other drugs, she finds herself on a hike to Lake Superior for a final goodbye to her parents by scattering their ashes. Secluded and alone, she happens upon a grandfather and his eight-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, in the woods. When a silent roar in the sky flattens them to the ground with excruciating pain that sends all animals in the forest into a state of panic, Alex immediately knows something is wrong; especially when Ellie’s grandfather falls over dead. Alex decides to head directly to the ranger station with a very defiant Ellie in tow. Soon, though, Alex realizes that the deadly wave of pain that she refers to as “The Zap” had more effects than immediate death and mind-bending pain. There are other… things in the forest, and this new era has morphed into something she never would’ve imagined. Luckily for her and Ellie, they encounter a young soldier named Tom who helps them unravel the clues to what is going on in the world and how widespread it is; but most importantly, he keeps them safe.

Things I liked about the book: Ms. Bick has created characters with believable depth, layered with flaws and a strength that it takes to survive in this new world. Alex was the perfect heroine, vulnerable enough to succumb to fear when it was warranted, but strong enough to kick butt when she needed to do so. Ellie was young and alone in the world, turned cold and bitter because of the loss of her family, but reacted as any young child would given the circumstances. Then there’s Tom and his secrets, his assured strength and smarts kept them moving and kept them alive. I appreciated that the undertones of a relationship were kept secondary to the plot, but it was enough to keep you anchored to the “family” bond that was blossoming among them all. Each person and their behavior read very authentic to who they were, and I felt that each character remained true to the voice that the author gave them from the very beginning.

What I disliked about the book: There was something quite disjointed about the beginning of this book and its ending. The novel had a very natural flow to the plot and a steady arc until I reached a little over the halfway point, where I felt the climax had come to a head, but then that particular plot-line almost seemed to fizzle off and die. In its place, a new story-line was introduced and continued to build to where the book ended, almost at the exact moment the next arc’s climax mounted. I was left very puzzled and a little aggravated in both cases. I’ll be curious to discover which plot subject the author decides to pick up with in the next book, and if she’ll be able to tie the two different ones together in some way.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this title. It was completely different than any book I’ve ever read. Also, the fact that this particular apocalyptic event could happen set my teeth on edge. It was a thriller of a story that kept me on the edge of my seat and rooting for Alex in every situation. Ilsa J. Bick has a way with words that will draw you in and keep your heart racing until the very last page. I can’t wait to read the next book!
Good Points
Loved the characters!
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