Thursday, October 3, 2013

Quarantine; The Saints, by Lex Thomas- Review

Spoilers to book 1 Quarantine; The Loners ahead!

From Goodreads:
Nothing was worse than being locked in—until they opened the door...
McKinley High has been a battle ground for eighteen months since a virus outbreak led to a military quarantine of the school. When the doors finally open, Will and Lucy will think their nightmare is finished. But they are gravely mistaken.

As a new group of teens enters the school and gains popularity, Will and Lucy join new gangs. An epic party on the quad full of real food and drinks, where kids hookup and actually interact with members of other gangs seemed to signal a new, easier existence. Soon after though, the world inside McKinley takes a startling turn for the worse, and Will and Lucy will have to fight harder than ever to survive.

Let me start this review by noting my epic fail in reviewing it on time. I was, uhum, supposed to get this up prior to August 15th, and only stumbled upon this fact a few short days ago.  My excuse, as usual, is an adorable but all consuming slobber face by the name of Sybil. Maybe I've mentioned her before?
Wait, what was it I missed? Here look at this cute baby and get back to me.
Anyhoots, it has worked out for the best in that *I* think it's a way better October book then summer book anyhow. I mean, come on, kids fighting each other to the death in a modern day Lord of the Flies? So not a hammock read. I'm just saying. Also, did I mention I just had a newborn? Because I've been using that excuse for everything lately (including the two birthdays I've forgotten, the emails I've somehow not replied to and the phone calls I thought I had returned. Whoever said baby brain wasn't real clearly hasn't met me yet).

So that cliffhanger ending at the brutal finale of book the first? It's a wild tease.  Seriously, they're still all trapped in the school for the ENTIRE SECOND BOOK.  I was pretty sure Thomas (a pen name for two people) had done all they could do with that, but alas, they felt there was more. I'm not sure I agree.

The biggest change in the second book, besides the influx of fresh blood, a few stories of the outside world, and the change in captors, is the gory detail and brutality of the story.  Honest to god, I had to skim parts because there was no way I could read the intensely detailed and graphic description of scenes like stepping on a baby pig and crushing it or being ripped to pieces by the mother pig afterwards. If you found the first book rough then you may want to rethink the second part, it definitely took things up at least three notches.

For the most part I felt like the majority of the story in The Saints was unnecessary. It eventually led to an intriguing segue for book the third, but not until the last few pages, and the character development in the other 384 pages wasn't anything I couldn't live without.  Though, Will was somewhat redeemed (which had to happen since he was one of the main perspectives this time).

In the end I was left with a squidgy feeling that I wished some of the images I'd been regaled with were not burned into my mind, and also that I did not care to follow where this was going any longer.  The pacing for the discovery of what happened to David, what's going on outside the school and the final reveal of how Lucy will survive or if she will was just too drawn out.  This book fell into the classic category of second book fatigue for me.

However, if you're looking for something seriously brutal and with a considerable amount of gore, then look no further. The Saints definitely fits this bill.  And lets be honest, that could totally be your thing, but it's not really mine. 

Quarantine; The Saints, by Lex Thomas
Published by Edgemont, July 9th, 2013