Wednesday, February 2, 2011
VIRALS by Kathy Reichs
Fifteen year old Tory Brennan is the great-grandniece of famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, whom she idolizes. Unfortunately for Tory she lives on a small island off the coast of South Carolina on a science compound affiliated with some university. She has just moved in with her rather clueless genius dad Kit and her only outlet for her grief of losing her mother are forensics, dogs, and the three other teens living on the island: Hi a sarcastic authority defying flashy dresser; Shelton, token person of color who happens to also be a techno-whiz; and Ben, sullen sixteen and supposedly a hottie. They go to a ritzy private school on the mainland, where none of them fit in (shocker). The only thing that makes school tolerable is her education, friendly cutie Jason, and her secret crush Chance the most popular and richest kid at the school (of course).
As the four kids don't like to spend additional time at school, they tend to cruise around the different islands that the university owns. Eventually they come across some dog tags and take it upon themselves to discover who they belong to. While investigating they end up in an abandoned lab, where they save a wolf dog that Tory had a 'moment' with and has a soft spot for. They discover that the dog was given a virus that infects them and after bouts of sickness their senses are enhanced and they have all developed a pack sense that allows them to communicate with one another. They end up calling themselves the Virals, because that's super original. In the mean time they are also discovering that the owner of the dog tag's daughter was murdered so they are now investigating that and people are out to get them. And if that isn't enough for you - Tory is trying to fend off the good intentions of her dad's girlfriend to get her into a debutante ball, figure out her feelings for Chance, stay away from the mean girls of the school, and not get killed.
If you couldn't tell I ended up not having a lot of patience with this book. It seemed like there was just too much, like someone decided that they needed MORE PLOT stuffed into the book so they could make the book thicker. Really? Was all of that necessary? I really don't think so. It all seemed a bit too processed, overly worked on, not organic enough. With so many plot lines, and random perspectives to jump to I have to admit that I quit. I made it to page 359 and just stopped. I didn't care anymore. I did read the last two pages to see if it would jumpstart my interest but alas no. TOO MUCH GOING ON! There were three books worth of material in there and it was like they hacked it all up to see if they could fit it into one. No focus. Blech.
And don't get me started on the whole Virals thing. Why did this need to be sci-fi? Just because fantasy has really taken off doesn't mean you need to jump on the band wagon and make it fantastical. Kathy Reichs is well known for her Temperance Brennan series and the Bones television show. Mysteries are what she does! I haven't read one of her adult books, but I hear they are very good and I'm completely addicted the Bones show. I really don't think the sci-fi thing was her fault.
I'm guessing some stupid agent was all, "Hey Kathy I'm so excited that you want to do a YA book. Make sure to put some sort of fantastical elements in there or they won't read it. Teens love the fantasy, how about werewolves?"
And Kathy Reichs was all, "I don't think so, I'm more science based and werewolves wouldn't really fit into my storyline."
And the stupid agent retorted, "DO IT OR THE TEENS WON'T BUY IT! THEY LOVE THE WEREWOLVES!!"
What I will blame Kathy Reichs for is the teeter-tottering of over-explaining all the science in her book and pretending that the characters in her book are all geniuses. Which means that they wouldn't need to have things over-explained to them. These parts felt like they were talking down to the reader, lame. Also the whole thing about Ben. Ugh. Way to be heavy handed on setting up the future romance there. Fail.
Anyways, this book came out in November. I didn't like it. I thought it would be good because I thought the premise was interesting. Alas no. Stupid. Go watch the tv show instead.