Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Horror Publication.Date July 10th 2012 Pages: 416 Published By: Egmont USA | Website Lex Thomas |
Quarantine - Goodreads My review copy: A copy of the book received from via the Kismet Blog Touring
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The first book in The Loners series, Quarantine, is a wild and explosive cocktail of scary, fun, and gore. Page after page, chapter after chapter, this book is made of action, tension and almost unbearable chaos of a world turned upside down by a deadly virus - a contagious, parasitic virus that thrives only in bodies of pubescent teenagers and destroys everyone - adults and children alike - in their path.
Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies (the two talented writers behind the pen name Lex Thomas) don't waste time on polite introductions, nor do they dwell on abstract descriptions. They get straight to the point, throwing the reader right into the centre of mind-popping action. You might want to consider attaching a seat-belt to your favourite reading-chair, cause the way these two tell the story is more intense than the scariest roller coaster ride you can imagine. All the events described in this book take place at McKinley High - a totally ordinary high school that's just unfortunate to be located near Mason Montgomery Technologies. MMT is a weapon manufacturer and there wouldn't be anything extraordinary about it if not for the illegal biological weapons they've been secretly testing on kidnapped teenagers. The first day of a new school year also happens to be the day when the government sends their troops to investigate the illegal activities at MMT. Long story short, something goes wrong, one of the infected teenagers escapes and makes his way to McKinley High. The government - in hopes of minimizing the casualties and getting everything under control - blows up half of the school. Needless to say, that doesn't help. The virus spreads all over the school in - literally - seconds, and in a blink of an eye all the students turn into walking bio-bombs, lethal to everyone who comes in contact with them.
And so the Quarantine begins. Cut off from the rest of the world, the infected students of McKinley High are now on their own and forced to fight in order to survive. Gangs form, tension raises, fights break out and the situation quickly escalates into a full-blown gang-war, with people who used to be your friends turning into your most deadly enemies. Friendship? Morality? Decency? Mutual support? Forget about it! Survival is all that matters. The good news is: as the puberty leaves the body, the virus disappears. The bad news? You then lose your immunity and within 24 hours you end up dead. Thankfully, the military set up an automated testing station, designed to scan the blood for an active virus and then release the virus-free students into the outside world. It's kind of like graduating from high school, only in this situation it's more like graduate or die trying.
This book was... WOW, I don't even know where to begin! It was insanely intense, but not at all in a subtle-kind of way. More like in a right-in-your-face, what-the-hell-just-happened and I'm-never-going-back-to-high-school kind of way. It certainly isn't a book for the faint-hearted, there are scenes of violence and abuse. And I don't mean a fist fight or spitting someone in the face, either, I mean seriously cringe-worthy stuff. If I was watching a movie instead of reading a book, I would be hiding under a blanket and covering my ears. Lex Thomas did a really great job painting a very grim, disturbing vision of a society that broke under pressure and crumbled to pieces. People turning into savages, thievery, rapes, oppression, injustice, even murder - that's the new reality at McKinley High, and it's only getting worse with every passing day.
I loved the idea of gangs - certain people sticking together, joining forces to fight for supplies at weekly food-drops organized by the government. And I thought it was a cool idea to have the kids dye their hair a gang-specific colour, though I'm not exactly sure if you can actually dye your hair using Kool Aid (and if you can - I'm never drinking that stuff again!). The main character, David, is an outcast. He doesn't belong to any gang, because no gang will take him in. He and his brother, Will, are forced to run and hide, to avoid run-ins with the Varsity (strongest gang made up from the members of the school's football team). And it wouldn't be all that impossible - there are many loners like them keeping to the shadows, surviving on scraps - if not for the simple fact that the Varsity's leader want's David dead, and he won't stop at anything to achieve that.
The writing was very dynamic and I had so much fun reading this book. This novel has everything I like in YA horrors/thrillers: a mind-blowing creep factor, dynamic action, plenty of unexpected plot twists, and overwhelming intensity. It was a thoroughly gripping novel, and though at times I felt very disturbed by the horrid events and vividly painted scenes on its pages, I couldn't bring myself to put it down. For the most part of the story I was under the impression that the authors wrote it with a future movie adaptation in mind (this book already has a movie-deal!). The way the scenes played out and how the story focused more on action than the characters' thoughts and feelings kind of made this book read more like a movie script than an actual YA novel. And it's not necessarily a bad thing, since there are so many angsty, thought-provoking YA dystopians, thrillers and post-apocalyptic novels already out there. I didn't really need another one, and I was grateful for this pure action-packed thrill ride. Any attempts at exploring the internal struggles of the characters and presenting the reader with their inner monologues, fears, worries and reflections on life would take away from the intensity and breath-taking quality of this book. That's not to say that this book is entirely free of all that. We do get a good glimpse at David's and Will's personalities, their past and their feelings, but it's done more through what they do than what the narrator tells us about their thoughts and feelings. It's more show than tell, and I liked it way better this way.
Overall, this book really knocked my socks off. I had a blast reading it and can't believe I now have to wait till summer 2013 to find out what happens next! The cliffhanger ending - while totally fantastic and exciting - really killed me. I'm literally dying to read the next book and am so happy to have discovered this creeptastic new series! If - like me - you're into the scary and creepy, be sure to add this book to your reading pile, it's a real winner!
Lex and Tom share their TOP 5s!
LEX’S TOP 5
Sport: Is canoeing a sport?
Musical instrument: Synthesizer
Fast food: Breakfast sandwich
Place to escape: A country drive
TOM’S TOP 5
Book: You Can’t Win by Jack Black. (The hobo criminal Jack Black, not the funny one)
Musical instrument: My throat? I like karaoke.
Fast food: Bagel and cream cheese with salt, pepper, and tomato from a local cafe.
Place to escape: Monterey, CA.!
For more information about Quarantine and the upcoming movie adaptation please visit its Facebook Page and follow its Twitter account!About the authors:
website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads
Lex Thomas is the pen name for the writing team of Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies. Their first novel, QUARANTINE: THE LONERS, earned a starred review from Booklist, and Huffington Post Books called it “one of the best books that I have ever read.”
Lex received a BA in Drama and English from the University of Virginia and has worked as an actor, director and writer. Thomas graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, and now writes, and exhibits his realist oil paintings in Los Angeles.
Lex and Thomas met in a writers’ group in Los Angeles. Their friendship developed as they tried to blow each other’s minds with clips from bizarre movies. In 2005, they became a screenwriting team, and found that writing with a friend is much more fun than doing it alone. Visit them at www.lex-thomas.com.