Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: The Eleventh Plague

The Eleventh Plague

Author: Jeff Hirsch
Pages: 278
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Library
Synopsis: In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving.

In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing--and their lives--forever.

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The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch was a good book but I wasn't really wowed by it.

I do think it's really me and my "go big or go home" mentality. When it comes to books, I like big, intricate stories about special people facing and conquering fear and danger. Stories about people dealing with hardship like everyone else interest me but I've never really loved them. And that's what The Eleventh Plague was about. A boy, Stephen trying to find his way in the world.

The story and world is similar to Ashes Ashes. The world is bleak and desolate. Hope can only be found when searched for. Humans are torn between survival and humanity. There's danger around every corner, conflict, and everything you'd expect from a world left in ruins. What I liked about The Eleventh Plague was that while it was grim, it was believable. That really upped its creep factor and I felt the book's mood clearly.

The characters didn't entice me too much. I liked Stephen, Jenny and them just fine but I never loved them. I did like how they fell in love. Though it was quick, one line Jenny said made me realize there was more to her and she's good for Stephen. Stephen himself has lost so much that I wish I could give him everything I have here, like my books. He's a genuinely good guy but for most of his life all he has focused on is surviving as he experiences loss after loss after loss.

The plot is pretty well summarized by the synopsis and I think it's pretty good. There were some very action filled scenes but I wasn't too excited about them. I think the reason why is that I expect death in post-apocalyptic reads so I desensitize my self subconsciously before reading. Whatever happened, it wasn't very enjoyable.

I know I've sounded pretty lukewarm in my review but that's how I feel. There are some definite good parts in the novel like how it ended or some of the morality crises (I love reading about those) and I do think there are parts to like overall. The Eleventh Plague just isn't my kind of read but I encourage you to try it if you're interested. 2 stars,


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