April 14, 2014
Inhuman by Kat Falls
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I've never read H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau, but according to all I've heard about it, this book would bear at least a superficial similarity. In these pages we have a genetically engineered virus that gets out of control and decimates the eastern half of the United States. (I do however dislike the fact that in a lot of plague stories the rest of the world is never mentioned, as if in our modern, heavily air-trafficked society any virus wouldn't spread worldwide, and Canada and Mexico, at the very least, would have similar problems.) This virus, based on animal DNA that the Big Bad Corporation used to create custom mythological monsters for its theme parks, has the aftereffect of changing the survivors (at least the ones who get bitten) into animal-human hybrids, called "manimals."
Nineteen years later, there is a 700-foot wall splitting the country from the Canadian to the Mexican border, and the eastern half of the country is abandoned to the ferals. (This is also a bit if a stickler, at least for me--I mean really. 700 feet high and hundreds of miles long? I think the physics of that would be knotty, to say the least. George R.R. Martin has a similar problem with his Wall. Not to mention the fact that if the Wall ends at, say, the Rio Grande, unless there's a similar one running to the Gulf of Mexico, a determined manimal could simply go around the thing.)
Yes, I'm a nit-picker. Unfortunately, the more I think about this book, the more nits I'm finding.
Our plucky heroine, Delaney Park McEvoy (most of the names in this book come from abandoned cities and places) is forced across--or rather under--the Wall to find her father, who is a "Fetch"--someone who ventures into the wilds to bring back abandoned artifacts, works of art, and/or people--in this case, a daughter left behind. This quest would have been entirely interesting all on its own, as Delaney is a stubborn, determined sort, had she not gotten bogged down in an unnecessary love triangle. The two boys are Rafe, who we come to find out was cared for by Delaney's father and thus knows a lot more about her than she does about him, and Everson, a guard on the island just across the Wall that is Delaney's initial destination.
I'm torn about this book. There are a lot of things about the worldbuilding that don't make sense, but Delaney and Everson are overall interesting characters (Rafe is pretty much a little prick till the very end, which makes Delaney's attraction to him all the more mystifying), and Delaney's character arc is good. This is a very action-packed book--the entire plot takes place over the timespan of only a few days, during which everyone's world is pretty much turned upside down. I'm sure the obligatory sequel will deal with the consequences, or rather it damn well should. I'm just not sure I'll be reading it.
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