Welcome back to the place that reaches into the depths of your bookish soul...to find something NEW and EXCITING to bring to you almost every day of the week, Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!
What's with the dark, dreary, and somewhat scary opener there? Well, it goes with the titles we are featuring today. Straight from the seemingly bottomless pit that is the Young Adult genre and getting right up in your face comes a series that you're gonna want to take note of. With a mash up of reality, biological weaponry (of sorts), a smidge of the fantastical and a look deep within the "hallowed halls" of our own youths, you are welcomed to McKinley High with opens arms...just watch that they're not aimed at your airway. Ready to take the plunge? Steel your nerves and get your game faces on, looks need to kill in this ultimate turf war when your very survival depends on not only your own skills, but the allowance of your existence by others. Today's double review goes to the author team known as Lex Thomas as we explore their dark and cunning series....
Quarantine, Book 1: The Loners
It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.
A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.
You thought the cliques were bad in YOUR high school. ~shudders~ Everyone has stories of glory and less-than-glory from their time spent within the halls of teenage learning, but it's highly unlikely that they branch to the extremes faced in McKinley High. Here, we are faced with the first day of school after a messy break up. Here, we are starting the year off with our younger brother in tow in order to show him the ropes and get him off on the right foot. Here, we are...facing the end of the world as we know it. In a few short hours, school won't be ending, lunch bells won't be ringing, teens won't be loitering. In fact within the next few minutes, utter chaos will erupt beginning with an explosion, continuing with the bloody end of all adults within the grounds, and ending with a great big bow of steel walls erected around the remaining building. Trapped....like rats. Communication eventually comes but the outlook is not good. Now graduation has a whole new meaning...and their arrival to its "stage", much more dire consequences.
Imagine your high school days....now multiply the divisions, anxiety and uncertainty by TEN. No, maybe a hundred would be a better choice. The world the author's created is dark and intense and yet....realistic. I mean, think about it. We'd like to think in a situation where we're all in the same boat so to speak that civility and kindness would prevail but seriously...get real. It'd be an eye for an eye and a tooth for the whole kit and kaboodle with or without some heavy security measures. There would be those random spots of goodness just as there are here, but over time, even those would have to "man up" in order to survive. A few rays of sunshine within this story include David, his younger brother Will, and Lucy. How their stories intertwine and the repercussions of that mixing will turn the tide once, twice, and thrice again, but they are kept afloat by the hope of one day making it to the outside world. Then again, they've been in here for MANY months now, who knows what's waiting for them on the outside? Ladies and gents, enter....
Quarantine, Book 2: The Saints
Nothing was worse than being locked in--until they opened the door...
McKinley High has been a battle ground for eighteen months since a virus outbreak led to a military quarantine of the school. When the doors finally open, Will and Lucy will think their nightmare is finished. But they are gravely mistaken.
As a new group of teens enters the school and gains popularity, Will and Lucy join new gangs. An epic party on the quad full of real food and drinks, where kids hookup and actually interact with members of other gangs seemed to signal a new, easier existence. Soon after though, the world inside McKinley takes a startling turn for the worse, and Will and Lucy will have to fight harder than ever to survive.
Hope. A new tomorrow. It was all SO close and some DID make it through but then that darn bus had to come crashing through their hopes and dreams. Just like a school to terrorize you with it's own transportation device. (^_^)
In this second installment, we have hopes that have risen about to be crushed flat like a bug on a window sill and those that road in on white horses, so to speak, about to prove two old adages. First, if its too good to be true, it probably is...and second, in the battle of good versus evil, good will always win....eventually and with bloodied battle scars to show how far it's come, but still, eventually. It's hard to see the school and this crew without David but they have their own issues to worry about with his leadership gone. The Loners, just couldn't take being so alone and thus they dispersed among the other gangs.
Some changes made sense, others were a matter of circumstance. Though Will is a BIG part of this story along with Gates and Sam, the gents on opposite ends of the spectrum of good and evil (or are they? Dun dun dunnnn...), Lucy is the one that really drew my attention. Her "change" is the biggest surprise of all....and what she endures to get there, a shock to the system. She's better for it, stronger even, but the stories her journey reveals about not only herself but her fellow females are heart breaking. Don't shed any tears for them guys, because they'll stick you faster than you can say their hair color. McKinley High may be a grave for some and a living heck for many, but there are those that intend to survive...no matter what.
In conclusion, it's a wonderfully dark tale of life as it could be not as it should be and the ends to which we will all go to survive...for better or worse. It shows the heart of those willing to bare their own, the shame of those conditioned to fit the mold, and the power that hope for a better tomorrow holds over us all. For fans of Alexandar Gordan-Smith's Escape from Furnace series as well as male and female readers from older teens through adults, this is a story to be reckoned with....and it only it keeps gets better. The story will draw you in, the characters will make you care, and all the while...you'll be thankful it's them not you. *-*
|Author duo Lex Thomas|
Finished copy of book 1 and ARC of book 2 for review courtesy of Casey at Media Masters Publicity and the fab folks at Egmont USA. (THANKS!) For more information on this series as well as their full catalog, be sure to stop by their site, friend them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter. To discover more about the writing duo that is Lex Thomas, check out their official site, like them on Facebook, or follow their Twitter feed.
Until next time...happy reading!