Plague by Michael Grant

Plague continues the story of the children in the Fayz and is number 4 of the series.  I seem to be on a roll with books at the moment – they’re all good! And Plague is no exception.  (Maybe it’s because I’m reading books that are a continuation of series that I already like – or maybe it’s because I have actually started to put down books that I don’t like – shocking, and difficult to do – but I can do it – after all I’d have no hesitation turning the TV off if it was below average so why this need to complete something I’m not enjoying.  Life is too short and there are too many good books out there.)

This is a really gripping, fast moving ride.  It’s definitely not shy of a bit of horror and it’s probably darker than the first three but I actually think this is my favourite book so far.  I will try not to include any spoilers but can’t guarantee not to do so and also would recommend that all of the books be read in order.

Firstly, I think the name of this book is great.  Plague – we basically have two kinds occuring in the novel.  There is a virus quickly spreading through the children (and taking them down like flies – pun intended *sorry*) and secondly there is a plague of insects.  I hope I’ve not given too much away by saying that.  I’m not going to elaborate but I will say the first few scenes, where the existence of these new insects is brought to life, literally made me cringe.  For anybody who has read the book – if I say the word Hunter – you know exactly where I’m coming from!!

Secondly, Sam gets to go off on a little jaunt in this episode.  Water is becoming scarce and a small party secretly take off to scout for more.  However, this leaves the town without the protection of their strongest mutant.  Still, what can possibly go wrong?  Drake/Britney is in captivity and Caine is in his own personal exile…

There is such a lot going on in this installment and it’s all brought together so well in a totally riveting finale.  We finally get to hear Petey, we discover a new part of the island (not to mention some goodies), we meet a new character called Toto (who brought a bit of humour to ease the tension) and we sat tense while some of our favourite characters appeared to be dying.  On top of that we start to see some of the inner conflict that people are struggling with such as Astrid.

The other great thing about these novels is that you feel for the characters.  I like Sam.  He’s a lovely boy  The boy next door.  You just want him to catch a break – and he almost does for a brief snatch of time (I laughed out loud when his fantasy was running through his head and taking over).  He feels guilty over some of his decisions and yet he isn’t bad.  Conversely Caine never feels bad about his decisions, he is a genuinley ruthless character – but there’s a sort of honesty to him and he was actually quite comical (unintentionally and in spite of himself) in this episode.  You know what to expect and he never fails to deliver.  Then we have Drake who is just plain mixed up (actually very mixed up in this novel all things considered).  Add to this a host of characters, some weak, some more cunning and it’s a great dynamic.  I feel so sorry for Orc as well – you get to hear a lot more of his thoughts this time and it’s really quite sad.  And of course we have the girls – The Breeze – who is excellent, tough, kick ass, humorous, unafraid.  Dekka, loyal and trustworthy and of course Astrid who was a bit tormented in this novel.

It makes me feel as though by trapping this small world in a self contained bubble all of the remaining resident’s behavious has become magnified.  The bullies are really nastry, the ambitious really ruthless and the good are striving against all of this to maintain some kind of order.

I think this novel also starts to pave the way for the final two books.  There is an interesting element brought into play by the discovery of the secret research huts plus the question of whether or not some of the children would even welcome being rescued or escaping from the FAYZ.  After all, some of them have now been through such a lot that they themselves have changed.  Plus, some of them are thriving in this new environment and it might not be easy to give that up.

All in all a very compelling must read book.

Rating A+




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