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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.
I’m back after a brief respite last week, thanks to the awesome CJ Burright and the release of her fabulous debut novel, WONDERFULLY WICKED. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, what the heck are you waiting for?!?!?
Today, I thought I’d share a review I did of a book that I read recently as part of my MFA program at Seton Hill University. I don’t read a lot of YA stuff, but this was part of a Mystery Readings in Genre Class and the book had a great hook, enough paranormal elements to keep me intrigued, yet enough reality to keep me from grounded. It was really good and I plan to read more in the series. Enjoy!
Author: Kathy Reichs
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published Date: November 2nd 2010 by Penguin Razorbill (first published November 1st 2010)
ISBN 1595143424 (ISBN13: 9781595143426)
Series: Virals #1
Characters: Temperance Brennan, Tory Brennan, Ben Blue, Hiram Stolowitski, Shelton Devers
Setting: Charleston, South Carolina (United States)
Literary Awards: Agatha Award Nominee for Best Childrens Young Adult (2010)
I really liked this book. The fast pace, coupled with an enjoyable cast of characters kept me turning pages. The author’s writing style was fresh and exciting, with lots of dialogue and action to keep the story engaging. I also enjoyed how the author used the settings as an invisible character in the book. Reich’s descriptions of Old Charleston and Morris Island and the mysterious LIRI Lab kept me locked in the story and wanting to know more. Plus, having her son co-author/consult on the book was genius. I’m sure his insights into teenaged angst helped make the book more realistic, from a YA standpoint. Especially in the dialogue between the teenaged characters.
The main POV character, Tory, made many mistakes on her journey to solving the mystery of Katherine Heaton’s murder, some attributable to her age, others not. Reichs employed Timelocks effectively in the story, especially during a scene where our intrepid teenaged protagonists break into a secret government lab and discover Coop, a wolf/dog hybrid with one hell of a case of Parvo virus. (Hint as to the title 😉 ) And the tension filled opening to the story, with their escape from Loggerhead Island, was effective for me, as were the tantalizing mentions of their newly-contracted powers. It made me want to continue reading, to discover what these powers were and how they’d been obtained.
Overall, the book worked for me. There were a few things that didn’t—such as the complete lack of any adult involvement with the kids, other than as chauffeurs (one reason why I don’t read a lot of YA) or the whole odd debutante ball storyline between Tory and Whitney or the bizarre “Mean Girls-exque” criminal mastermind ending—but as a whole, I found the book a quick, fun read. I loved how Reichs took something familiar, parvo virus, and morphed it into a dangerous new threat. And I loved the Virals themselves—they were smart, snarky, and sympathetic. This is a series I will continue to read in the future.