Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

I won this book during the Debut Authors blog hop from Sandy at Magical Manuscripts.  I finally got around to it this past month.  This is a very interesting dystopian story.  And one of the big selling points is that it has an autistic main character.  I also like that it uses a service dog that she has to help her with dealing with things that normally overwhelm or upset an autistic person.  It was neat to be reading about it as the local news was running a story about service dogs and autism.

The main character is Clover.  She lives in a world that has been devastated by a virus.  It was sweeping through the population when Clover was born.  Fortunately the Company found a vaccine, in the future.  But now they control everything.  The whole country is split up into walled cities to protect the citizens.  Inside the walls they get their vaccines every day.  And their allowed to get the food and other supplies they need based on a lottery type system.  One that even includes a bit of gambling to try to increase the worth of the wages they get.  Clover's mother died when she was a baby, her father killed her to try to save her from the virus, all this before the vaccine became available.  When it did, his whole family was saved.  But then he went and worked for the executioners, the people who kill those that information from the future shows they will commit a crime.  In that part it reminds me of Minority Report.  Since he's away, has to stay in the military/Company barracks, Clover and her brother West are watched over by a neighbor.  One who now is getting elderly, and West and Clover kind of look after her as well.  When West finished school, he went to work on the Farms. But what he hopes to do, now that Clover is almost done with school, and should be accepted into the Waverly-Stead Academy where she'll stay in a dorm, he hopes to go work for the Company.  But all of that becomes a lost cause when Clover is refused admittance to the Academy, supposedly because of her service dog.

It seems handy that the person in charge of the school just happens to have a letter recommending her for a job at the Company.  Working with the Time Mariners, the team that travels to the future.  She finds out on one of her missions that her brother's name is going to come up as a killer.  And when she gets back, she goes to try to figure out how to save West.  In doing this, they end up contacting one of the men who started the Company, the man who first went to the future and found the vaccine.  And they find allies in other kids that came from the Foster City.  They soon realize that they must be a part of the rebellion, to find out just what the vaccine actually does, and what the Company really wants from the people like Clover that seem to be hired often for the Time Mariners.

A different type of dystopian in a way, but still has a lot of the same details and storylines.  The time travel methodology is an interesting one.  Especially that they can only travel exactly 2 years into the future at any time.  And even with what we do learn, there is still much more to know, due to a surprising death or two at the end of the book, and some plot twists.  I'll keep my eyes out for the 2nd one to find out more.  And I'll be donating my copy to the high school library where I work in order to get the kids interested as well!

While you're here, don't forget to go enter my 1900 follower giveaway for up to $19 worth of books from the book depository or an Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC for that amount.  It ends tomorrow at midnight!