Review of PLAGUE by Michael Grant
A GONE NOVEL
Katherine Tegan Books, May 2011
Life isn't easy for the group of teens stranded in California's Perdido Beach. Food and especially water are running low, the apparently unkillable Drake is joining with a peculiar dark force buried deep beneath the hills--but not destroyed, and a new flu has emerged--a flu that can't be defeated by Lana's magical healing powers, and Caine has illusions of becoming the Napoleon of Perdido Beach. When ex-leader and overall hero Sam heads off looking for a new source of water, everything falls apart, and a new monster, one that incubates inside of people--breaks out and links up with the fearsome Drake.
I had a hard time getting into PLAGUE. There are so many characters, each with their magical powers, each going through those hormonal things that teens do. And for a long time, the characters spend most of their time reacting, watching things fall apart, falling into despair, and generally not getting along. Around the halfway point in this long book, however, author Michael Grant turned on the afterburners and set about resolving all of the problems he'd created.
I like the idea of a restricted zone where only young teens survive. The magic of darkness is intriguing although I would have liked to see a bit more motivation for its actions--how would darkness have wanted to transform the world and why? The teen angst suffered by many of the characters rang true for me, and their joy at finding a boxcar full of Nutella was downright funny.
It's always difficult to come into a series in one of the later books. I think Grant could have done a better job setting up the story for those of us who haven't read the entire series. Still, despite some problems, I enjoyed PLAGUE.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to email@example.com. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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