**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**
“Take her out back and finish her off.”
She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her.
And that she must run.
In her riveting style, April Henry crafts a nail-biting thriller involving murder, identity theft, and biological warfare. Follow Cady and Ty (her accidental savior turned companion), as they race against the clock to stay alive.(source:goodreads)
Cover-Probably the best part of this whole book. It's creepy, it fits the tone and plot of the novel, and the added plus of the eyes being "ripped out" totally plays with the theme of our MC not knowing who she is.
Ultimately, not bad.
Narrative-I can't lie to you: this is where this review goes south. The story is told in first-person POV from the perspective of our MC, Cady. She's supposed to be a high-school student, I'm betting sophomore or junior, but the voice reflects more of a middle school; maybe. The story is told too simply; I had to double-check the book's description on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble more than a few times to make sure this book isn't Middle-Grade. Nope.
Then the dialogue. The dialogue was clunky and unnatural. It's the simplest way I can put it, and it's actually really hard to try and continue to describe it without using the same adjectives. Unbelievable, maybe? None of it sounded like the way people actually talk. There was so much of a character sitting down with another, and telling an entire story almost to the end, including details that don't need to be included. I don't know; even when persons over the age of 25 were speaking, it was more like sitting in a lecture hall while they spilled the entire lesson in less than ten minutes.
Plot-I wanted to like this book, because the premise is awesome. A girl who can't remember who she is, whose been tortured, and who's the subject of an underworld manhunt? And biological warfare? That's literally everything I love.
It was carried out in a way that I most definitely did not love.
When the very fabric of logistical reality wasn't being skewed, the characters were coming up with increasingly ridiculous stunts to get around. When they weren't doing that? They were completely avoiding the very obvious hints being scattered around the novel about what and who they should believe. I'm all for an author trying to make their narrator unreliable, but in this case it just made me roll my eyes and wish I had the courage to review a book half-read. I also knew every bad-guy and liar from ten pages away. The obviousness of when things would go wrong and how were too easy.
Basically, I couldn't tell if the author was trying for an unreliable narrator, or dramatic irony. Neither of those succeeded.
The biological warfare? supposedly a new strain of hantavirus. The only thing "new" about the strain the author came up with was that the timeline to death was sped up from 4-10 days to 3. The biologosy of it (muscle aches, lungs filling with fluids/blood, etc) is the same as the strain of hantavirus known as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Guys, I knew this without research. However, if I'm getting something wrong then I will gladly welcome any comments that correct me.
I also know that authorities would not be fooled into thinking the burned corpse of a chimp was actually the burned corpse of a human. Just...no.
Characters-To put it easily: little, if any, characterization.
I understand that Cady was freaking out over not remembering things for most of the book. That doesn't give her an excuse to be an absolute idiot and cling to the first guy she meets who doesn't try to shoot her. There's a moment when she and Ty are in a library trying to figure out who she is, and they come across a Facebook account with her name on it; since the most recent update was from about an hour before, she assumed she was crazy even though her memory loss was from twelve hours before.
The clingy-thing? She goes from begging Ty not to leave her alone to telling him to save himself within the stance of a single, three-sentence paragraph. She constantly overlooked the most obvious clues that somebody was setting her up and decided to go ahead and let some random kid tag along with her just because he provided her with an out when she was in trouble just once.
Which brings me to Ty.
He was better. He's studying to be a doctor, went from homeless to getting an apartment with a friend (and he has a job). He finds this poor girl who's obviously in trouble and helps her out, based on the philosophy that if nobody helped him he'd probably be dead or on the streets.
All-around good kid.
Then he decides that it's a good idea to see her through whatever problems she's going through. To give him credit, he's much smarter than Cady, never leaving her alone with people they just met, even those they can supposedly trust.
Everybody else in the book (and I'm including Cady in this) was a cardboard cutout. They had no dimension, even Cady's parents (who admittedly were only actually there for a total of five pages). The bad guys were talking guns without any dimension; everything came down to a cliche excuse of money ("Everything would have been great if they'd just taken the money!" was their excuse), and they were also incredibly easy to beat. Cady and Ty rarely had to lift a finger; the one guy who did end up getting a bit beat up whined about it the whole time because he's "just an information specialist."
I already mentioned they were all transparent, right? Or was it at least implied?
Like I said: I wanted to like this book. I couldn't. It was good for maybe a premise, but there was still so much that looked like it needed to be fixed and just completely redone. I'm even being generous with a few of those ratings.
Final Answer: 1.75 / 5
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