Book Review Wednesday: Virals (4 stars)

Posted: December 24, 2014 in Book Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m a big fan of Bones the TV show. I know some of the people involved in the making of it have said she’s not autistic, but if she’s not, then she’s the most autistic non autistic TV character I know. In my mind she’s one hundred percent undiagnosed aspergers, and being diagnosed autistic myself I know what I’m talking about. Not that has anything to do with this book, but that connection with the character was what introduced me to Kathy Reichs books in the first place.

So of course when I heard she’d tried her hand at young adult science fiction with this series, I had to try it.

Here’s the blurb:

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends. They’re a pack. They are Virals.

It took me a little while to get into the swing of this book. Something about the writing style rubbed me the wrong way, and the first real chapter (after the action packed flash forward) seemed heavy with infodump. I kind of wonder if she started this book in the right place. Instead of hearing about her mother’s death, and how she’d become friends with the other kids on the island and settled into an awkward but functional relationship with her father, we could see some of it. It could open with emotionally shook up Tory landing on her father’s doorstep after the death of her mother. Through the events of the book she could forge that relationship with her father, meet and form her pack with the other kids.

I think that would’ve added something else, gotten rid of some infodump and added another layer of plot. As it is, the kids seem a little too settled. They start off tight friends with each other, and that changes little over the book. The only thread of plot seems to be the big mystery – which is a cool and well plotted mystery – but I think the book might’ve gained from another more emotional layer that helps us delve into their personalities a little more. This book kind of reminds me of the old mystery books I used to read like famous five. The characters don’t really change or develop, but the winding plots are fun to follow.

That said, as enjoyablity goes this was a good book after my first jarring reaction to the writing style. I’d say it’s worth a read, just don’t expect anything really deep. The characters are entertaining, but this is a mystery first, everything else second kind of book. If you liked those old Enid Blyton mystery books then you might get a kick out of this one.

For more reviews on this book check out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7800188-virals

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