Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: Virals

Synopsis: Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever. As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent. Fortunately, they are now more than friends they're a pack. They are Virals.

My Review: Going into Virals I was really excited.  Scientifically based were-wolf story?   Hell to the ya!  I was a little worried at first because there is a connection to the Bones books, but not to worry.  Virals is a total stand alone and very easy to jump right in.   I was a little shocked to find out that Tory was so young.  Okay, well not young per say, but younger than I thought she was going to be.  Tory is fourteen, and has been recently transported to living on a secluded island with her dad who up until a few months ago she didn’t know existed.  The recent death of her mother doesn’t really affect Tory all that much.  I chalk it up to the fact that when the story begins Tory has been living with her dad for a few months, and is over the initial shock of it.  She’s already well ingrained into her new way of life, including friends.  Tory is definitely a tom boy, especially since the other kids on the island close to her in age are all guys.  I really loved Tory’s character.  She was tough, no-nonsense, and had a firm belief in her own morals.  I really admire people who stand up for what they believe in, and Tory was no exception.  Not to mention that girl is a mini-genius.  She is one smart cookie to be sure.  She was just a very enjoyable character and a wonderful MC. 
From the books description it makes it sound like her and her friends are a group of crazy radical kids who think it’s cool to live on an island.  Okay… well that’s what I gathered from it the first time I read the synopsis.  In reality, they just like to hang out at their parent’s work, which just so happens to be a secluded island used for ecological studies.  I really liked all Tory’s friends.  They were all very entertaining, and added to the witty sarcasm.  I think I would have preferred if there was just one more girl though.  Soooo much testosterone going on.  Tory balances them all out well, but still, a little more girl would have been nice. 
I truly loved the whole concept of the story.  It was like Peeps but with werewolves.  (At least that is the best description I’ve come up with)  I’m naturally a very scientific person, so providing a logical explanation for a traditionally supernatural storyline really appealed to me.  Plus they’re really not “werewolves”.  Wolf enhanced senses?  Definitely, but there is no shape changing or full moons involved.  Plus I loved the spin off from the parvovirus.  Truly ingenious!  Such a unique idea, I can’t help but rave about it.  They are truly a “pack” and their group dynamics were very interesting.  Plus they always manage to land themselves in a crap ton of trouble.  Maybe I’m mistaken here, but do 14-16 years olds typically like to break that many laws in the pursuit of the truth?  My curiosity doesn’t extend past doing internet or library research.  When Tory and her friends discover an old dog tag, not only do they discover the owner who died many years ago, but they also become obsessed with the disappearance of his 16 year old daughter.  Now I can understand trying to solve a potential murder case concerning people in the present.  A possible murder case 45 years ago?  Not so much.  Like I said, my curiosity isn’t that great.  However Tory and the gang just can’t let it go.  When they discover a skeleton with a bullet hole in the head buried on their parents island, things go from an innocent history pursuit to real danger.  They get in over their heads and become involved in a conspiracy over 45 years in the making. 
While I loved the original plotline and the amazing mystery, some parts just seemed so far fetched.  If I was going to off someone and then dispose of the body, I wouldn’t bury them!  Hello?!  Ocean is right there!  Second of all, I wouldn’t be trying to kill a group of teenagers who accidentally stumbled upon the body.  Who would believe them?!   The level of trouble the gang gets themselves into, combined with the kill attempts, just seemed blown out of proportion.  It made it very gripping and exciting, but it was still rather unbelievable.  Plus the bad guy’s motive!  Gah! It was soooo bad.  I don’t know many people who would be willing to kill someone over that!  Maybe I just don’t know any horribly desperate people, who knows, but I still thought it was overly dramatic. 
Other than the tad bit of over-drama, I really, really loved this book.  It was so different from a lot of YA stuff out there right now, and I really appreciate that.  I know I’m not the only one getting tired of the same old same old, and VIrals is sure a refreshing read.  I cannot wait for further books!  I’m already pumped to find out what kind of trouble Tory and the gang will get into!  And I’m just waiting for future romance to bloom.  I called it at the beginning of the book!  It WILL happen!  It will just take some time.  XD  Loved it! 



Shy said...

I have yet to find a good were-related books that I thoroughly but this one doesn't sound like the others that I ever read. Like you, I am also intrigue that there is a sci-fi explanation to what happen to this were-clan (or whatever they are called *lol*). I think if I am to get into were books once again, this would be one of the book on top of my list.