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Friday, April 04, 2014

New Bethany Wiggins Dystopian: How Did I (Almost) Miss This One?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)


So, I'm still trying to figure out how I missed the fact that Bethany Wiggins wrote another book (actually, two).  I enjoyed her debut, Shifting, then somehow lost track of her.  When I discovered Stung, the first installment in her YA dystopian series, I was shocked.  As far as I can tell, the novel's received very little buzz.  Which is a crying shame, since it's a taut, well-crafted post-apocalyptic thriller.  Original?  Well, okay, it's kind of the same ole, same ole plot-wise, but still, it's better written than many of its contemporaries.  

The publisher's plot summary describes the book well—and in one concise, compelling paragraph, no less:


Fiona doesn't remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered-her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right wrist-a black oval with five marks on either side-that she doesn't remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. And she's right. When the honeybee population collapsed, a worldwide pandemic occurred and the government tried to bio-engineer a cure. Only the solution was deadlier than the original problem-the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts who were branded as a warning to un-vaccinated survivors. Key people needed to rebuild society are protected from disease and beasts inside a fortress-like wall. But Fiona has awakened branded, alone-and on the wrong side of the wall . . .

I love the whole Sleeping Beauty aspect of this novel.  It brings a new spin to an overly-familiar storyline, while introducing the reader to the rules of Fiona's dystopian world in a way that feels both natural and suspenseful.  Fi's a sympathetic character, one who's easy to relate to and root for.  As you can imagine, Stung offers plenty of action, intensity, and zombie gore.  A bit of romance, too.  Overall, it's a fast-paced, engrossing tale that stands out from its peers (at least for me) because of its tight prose, interesting characters and heart-pounding action.  So what if Stung's nothing we haven't seen before?  I enjoyed it.  A lot.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Ashes and Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick; Ashfall and Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin; and, of course, its sequel, Cured by Bethany Wiggins)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs); violence/gore; and references to rape

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
  

1 comment:

  1. This sounds brilliant. I have never heard of BEthany Wiggins but I really like the sound of this one. Adding it to my TBR immediately!!
    I hate it when I loose track of an author and then months later remember them and find out that they have new books out. I also forget about series that I am reading and always end up finding out that the last book has been released like 6 months later!

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The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

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