Monday, November 28, 2016

Infected - ABB Review


This weeks ABB review is of Infected: The Shiners by Tara Ellis. Infected is a YA novel that starts on the brink of what can best be described as an apocalyptic event. I gave it 4 stars.

An alien plague. A sixteen-year-old girl. A fight to save the world.

When a rare meteor shower unleashes a mind-altering infection, the people Alex loves begin to change. They’re smarter, faster, emotionless, and they have a plan. One that doesn’t include her.

Guided by cryptic clues left behind by her deceased father, Alex follows a trail of increasingly shocking discoveries. Earth’s history isn’t what she learned in school, and a new hive mind threatens to rewrite the future.

Alex is a fighter, but pursued by both friends and an unknown enemy, it will take everything she has to fulfill her destiny. Desperate to save her little brother, she flees to the mountains surrounding her home, where the only chance for humanity has lain hidden for thousands of years.

Infected starts off right before everything in Alex's world changes. She's already been through the loss of her father two years prior, but that's just a precursor as to what's coming. On the night of the Holocene meteor shower, Alex, her family, and pretty much her whole town is out to watch the show.
Every five thousand years this shower goes past and it's been the talk of Alex's family, even before her father was killed. I already knew from the blurb what this shower is going to bring, but Alex doesn't know that.

This story starts off really slow, despite beginning at such a key moment. I'm not sure why it felt slow, but it did. 

I was also frustrated by Alex and her brother's Jake super-sensitivity to wrongness. They didn't actually have any powers so their ability to automatically sense something was off felt more like the author was making sure the readers didn't miss the foreshadowing. 

It was a lot like being on an Easter Egg hunt and Mom's stopping by each egg, no matter how cleverly hidden and shouting, "OH WOW I THINK THERE MIGHT BE AN EGG HERE."  And you're going, "Wow, Mom. I'm like 12 years old now. I can find my own eggs." 

So after awhile I'm looking sideways at Alex and being like: 

In all honesty, I don't think it was the author's intention, but it did take some of the fun out of figuring out when things were hints at "this shows things are about to go off the rails."

But then . . . it happened. I'm about 25% of the way into the book and crap hits the fan! I mean I'm sitting there going WHAT!!! Whoa, no way. Whoa. Oh dang.

And it didn't stop. First there's this note from her dad that's like, "I'm probably dead, and if you're reading this A, B, and C has happened. You have to do this, and you can't do that." I'm going AHHHHHH, he knew! I mean it was fre-aky. I got the heebie-jeebies just reading that letter.

From that point on I was just sucked in. It was scary as heck! Like not horror scary but like, pass me a blanket and a cat, read this in the daylight, and DON'T SNEEZE kind of scary.

 It's hard to explain that creeping sense of doom. Everything is wrong, horribly wrong, and I'm staring at the page unable to look away. Nowhere is safe. No one is safe. The world is just screwed up!!! And then she locks her door, sticks the chair under the knob and I'm shouting, "Why the fungus are you barring the door, but leaving your brother unprotected?" No, no, no, go grab him and have a slumber party in your room. Then lock the door, the window, like 50 times and take turns standing watch. IT'S NOT SAFE!

And then she wakes up in the middle of the night because her mom comes home late(yeah, when it says everyone's messed up, it really means everyone), she goes and listens by her bedroom door and can sense her mom's on the other side aware that she's doing just that. Oh my gosh!!! How does she sleep after that? Her mother was creeping me out!

And then the school goes from, "Hey we're closed because there's an epidemic." to "We're open, precious." I'm going, no bad, don't go, don't go!!! Warning bells are going off. AND SHE GOES!!!

I'm now hiding under my bed with my blanket and covering my eyes. I just know it's NOT going to go well. And then I sneak out, read some more and it's back to "oh crap, oh crap. Oh freaking no way." Alex walks into the room and every head in the class swivels towards her and gives her the deathly stare of ultimate doom.

The whole time she's at school, I'm just waiting for things to fall apart and then they do and I'm like AHHHH. And then we find out what happened after school and I'm like AHHHHH.

My experience with this book can be summed up in one short video. Yeah, this was me.

Then finally Alex decides, okay brother and friend dude, we need to bail . . . like yesterday. She rushes home and bad stuff is going down and I'm like IT'S TOO LATE!!! They're going after Jake! Not Jake! He's just a kid! Alex is on the big sister warpath though and she's like . . . you mess with my brother, I mess with your face.

They narrowly escape and they're fleeing to someone who'll hopefully help them. You'd think okay downtime. YOU'RE WRONG!! I was on such high alert that I was like, trust no one trust no one. The guy they went to see would be like, "Have a cookie." And I'd be going, "Why? Is it poisonous?" And he's say, "Let me take your bags." And I'd be like, "No, you just want to steal them!" I don't think I would've trusted my own mother by that point. It didn't matter if nothing creepy was happening, I was way beyond trust and relaxing.

Now the pieces are starting to fall together and smart guy helps them understand some things. Now they have to find the cure, or rather, they have to find where the cure is being stored and activate it to vaccinate the population.

But we're dealing with people who are not only emotionless, but super fast and smart. I mean, our characters are going, "we need to stop and buy food." One goes into the store to buy something to eat and they can't stop worrying afterwards that that one little stop would be their undoing.

See . See. See. It's not just me that was uber-paranoid! And then every time she leaves her brother alone I’m like, NOOO something bad’s going to happen!!!

I'm pretty sure Tara Ellis was cackling when she wrote this book.


Overall, this was a gripping story that had a slow start, but once it took off it just snowballed all the way to the end. I flew through the rest of the book and had lots of AHHHHH moments. It was that blend of terrifying that made you go, oh no, oh no, oh no, but it won't make it so you're unable to sleep or haunted by nightmares. 

The characters were well-done, as was the tension. I liked that Alex and Chris were friends, but that(at least in this book) it wasn't heading straight for a romance. It's nice to see two characters who can just be friends and not immediately set off fireworks. I liked how Alex and Jake solved the clues and how the three were trying to figure out how to operate in a world gone mad.

It was interesting how the virus chose to infect people with the most mixed bloodlines. I'd be essentially screwed if this virus hit. It made me think if people had known in advance there'd have been some crazy marriage restrictions to keep bloodlines pure. 

There's a bit of Egyptian lore mixed into this which both complimented Alex's heritage and what's going on in her world. There's some funky dreams and two instances of a strange voice calling her, but I honestly didn't think much about them. I never expect my dreams to make sense and I was so caught up in the drama that I forgot to think about what the voice might mean. 

I will be reading book 2 in the future and again, this book got 4 stars from me.

Find it on Amazon.
Learn more about Tara Ellis and her other novels on Facebook and Twitter 


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2 comments:

  1. Yay! I'm finding it slow in the beginning too, but I think things are starting to pick up now; hoping to finish it before the end of the month if I have time amongst everything else. :)

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    1. You can do it!! M.T. just finished and she was reading it while sick and was like THIS IS NOT A GOOD BOOK TO READ WHEN SICK!!! I'm going, "Oh gosh, I couldn't have read it while I was sick."

      Ah, so you're hitting the downhill stretch. You'll be screaming the whole way and then when you finally get to the end of it you'll be like, "I need a drink. And a hot bath."

      Can't wait to hear what you think. :) I've been keeping up with reviews from the rest of the book club and I can say it's one of my favorite activities.

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