Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Scholastic and Netgalley.
Blurb (from Goodreads):
In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.
America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.
Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.
Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Scholastic and Netgalley.)
16-year-old Lane lives in a dystopian society, where beyond the boundary wall live people who are known as ‘feral’ – part-human, part-animal hybrids.
When Lane is picked up for possibly being infected (having the disease that turns people feral), she soon learns that the reason is that her father has been going across the boundary to the old city of Chicago to bring back priceless art works. One woman has evidence of him crossing the boundary, and offers Lane a deal – get her father to retrieve something for her from Chicago, and she’ll make the evidence go away.
Given only 5 days to find her father, get the item, and get back behind the boundary wall, Lane is on a tight schedule.
Can she find the scientist who supposedly knows where her father is? Can she find the item the woman has asked for? And can she do it without becoming infected herself?
This was an okay dystopian novel, but it felt like a bit like a fairy-tale-mash-up.
Lane was an okay character, although I did think she was maybe a little dumb at times. I didn’t quite get how she could figure out that the stories her father had told her, were really about what was on the other side of the wall, but then not figure out that the strange creatures he’d talked about where also real and on the other side of the wall. Logic missing.
The storyline in this book was a bit of a strange one. At times it felt like we really were in some kind of a dystopian future, and then at other times it felt like some kind of fairy-tale world. At times I got hints of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ – a tiger-man who is going around searching for a heart (the tin-man), and a girl who is looking for a scientist who will tell her what she needs to get home (Dorothy), never mind that they were traveling along a road (admittedly it wasn’t made of yellow bricks but we can’t be too literal). Not forgetting the feral and very vicious monkey type things, which reminded me of the Wicked Witch’s flying monkeys.
Then there were hints of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – Lane having to crawl through small spaces, and then a very self-important, and nasty-piece-of-work Queen, who kept ordering people killed (I was waiting for the ‘Off with their heads!’ line!), who reminded me of the Queen of Hearts.
There was even a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ angle worked in there – ‘the beast has to win her heart’, which was unexpected and quite clever.
I did feel that this book lost its way a little in the middle, and I did find some of the middle bits a little boring, but thankfully it picked up a bit at the end. The ending was then alright, but again, I thought that Lane had been exceptionally stupid as it turned out. There was quite a lot not wrapped up at the end, leaving more to be explored in further books, but I wouldn’t want to read these back-to-back. That boring part in the middle stopped this from being anything more than an okay read for me.
Overall; and okay dystopian fairy-tale-esque story.
6.5 out of 10.