PUBLISHER: Tara Brown Publishing (self published)
AUTHOR: Tara Brown
LENGTH: 274 pages
AUDIENCE: Young Adult/Adult
THE RUNDOWN: "It's us and them, Em. There are no regular people anymore."
When civilization as we know it suddenly grinds to a screeching halt, Emma and her father are one of the few people ready. Growing up with a survivalist father, Emma is tough, prepared and willing to turn away from any other human so she can survive. Her father taught her that the only creature she can trust is her pet wolf. The two of them survive alone for years until one day a girl knocks on her secluded cabin door. The tearful girl begs Emma for help; her brother has fallen and broken his leg. He'll die if Emma doesn't help. Going back on everything she was taught, Emma breaks down and helps, opening herself up to finally caring about another person. But, caring about others comes at a price. When Emma learns Anna has been taken by the government to be used as breeding stock, Emma decides to go in after her. There she learns how dark and twisted the government's procedures are. Now she'll stop at nothing to save the other girls who are being used and discarded.
THE RECOMMENDATION: As a young adult dystopian story, this book follows all the rules. There's a steamy love triangle, a kick-butt heroine, and a ravaged world falling apart at the seams. It is clear that Brown has a good grasp of pace and conflict that makes this book a page-turner. It also sells very well, set at a $.96 price point that makes it an easy buy.
There are some issues however that really soured this experience for me. First of all, Ms. Brown could have used a good editor. It isn't rife with errors like some books, but there were many times when sentence structure or awkward phrasing took me out of the book. Nothing awful or unreadable, but it kept happening over and over. The second issue I had was with the main character, Emma. I get that she is a hardened human being. She would have to be to survive in a world with zombies and government abductors. But she's so angry, often without a clear reason. One minute she loves Jake, the next she is furious with him. Then she loves Will, then she's furious with HIM. She sacrifices herself for the girls she meets, but then is also often furious with them. Her range of emotion felt like being in a middle school dance; the drama was exhausting and often not founded. By the end I just didn't like Emma. And this is problem.
Overall, many people enjoyed this book and it is a quick, light read that is entertaining. I think the story provided was worth a buck. But I did not feel compelled to pick up the rest of the story. There are too many spectacular books in the world.
THE RATING: 3 out of 5 stars
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Katie French is the author of The Breeders, a Young Adult dystopian adventure and Eyes Ever to the Sky, a sci fi romance. Nessa: A Breeders Story, a prequel novelette is available in a new anthology on Amazon. Sign up for notifications, follow her @KatielFrench or like her on Facebook.