Series: The Farm #1
Published by Berkley (12.4.2012)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 420 pages
Source: I own it
Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…
And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.
Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…
Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...
This book was just….there. It wasn’t bad necessarily, but it wasn’t really all that good either. I felt NOTHING while reading. Absolutely nothing. No intrigue, no disgust (and there were plenty of disgusting things), no emotion whatsoever. Not good. I think that’s what ultimately scored such a low rating for this book is that I didn’t give a crap about the story or the characters. Even when things were actually happening I didn’t care. There was no anticipation, no suspense.
The whole abductura thing was interesting, but despite that being unique I didn’t feel as if the book really stood out. To be honest, now that I’ve finished the book I feel like there were times when it kind of felt *almost* like a knockoff of The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa. Sebastian seemed like a knockoff of Jackal, the Ticks a knockoff of Rabids. Just the general feel of the novel. And really, I don’t know why – because that’s where the similarities end. I guess it just reminded me of the book. Not that it actually was a knockoff. But because the comparison is there in my mind, and of course it’s got nothing on Julie’s series, it ruins it a little for me.
The world building was watery at best. There was a vague mention of genetic mutation leading to the Ticks, but it didn’t go into detail. I have no idea what year it’s supposed to be. I didn’t really understand the point of the Farms. To protect the kids? Or to harvest them? The structure wasn’t explained. The Dean leads the Farm, and the “Collabs” police it, but that’s about all we get. Why? How? I NEED MORE THAN THAT. Why the hell were the kids called “Greens?” Where did the term abductura come from? Then there was vague talk of this Roberto person taking over the world…for what? I don’t even know. I even struggled to picture the Ticks:
Their chests were massive and bulging with muscles, their arms out of proportion with the rest of their bodies. The disparity made them look clumsy, but they moved with surprising agility, dancing along the bank, desperate to attack us but unwilling to jump into the river to get to us. […] I imagined I could distinguish the grotesquely distended jaw. The inhumanly large teeth.
And also the fact that they have “leonine teeth” was mentioned at least twice. Another paragraph mentioned one being covered in “patchy hair, several inches long.” So, in my mind, they looked like apes. How terrifying.
I was going to talk about the strange creatures called nutria, but as I was writing this review I looked it up. Apparently it’s a real thing? I’ve never heard of it, and it wasn’t explained. The only description we get is that it’s the size of a medium dog, it scuttles, and it has orange teeth. Turns out it’s a large rodent, so why didn’t the book state that? If it’s a term that 95% of the population probably won’t know (or maybe I’m just so ignorant about rodent species that I’m projecting that ignorance on the rest of the population? Please correct me if I’m wrong!), why not just toss in a quick explanation for understanding? I’m sure as hell not going to stop reading to go look it up. (And I didn’t, and that’s why I thought it was a fictional creature.) But how random is that, anyway? Have YOU ever seen one of these things randomly wandering out in the wild? Didn’t think so.
I do have to give kudos for the switching POVs, though. There were three: Lily, Mel, and Carter. Mel’s was very disjointed on the account that she had autism, Lily’s was 1st person, and Carter’s was 3rd person. It was very easy to tell them apart.
As far as the characters…Lily was just…there. Just like that book was. She wasn’t particularly inspirational. She tried to be strong, but sometimes ended up being too naive and stubborn and alway ran headlong into danger. She was fiercely protective of her sister, that was probably her best attribute. Carter had little to no personality to speak of. Honestly, I think the person with the most personality was Mel.
The romance was…ugh. UGH. It was quite hot and cold, had little to no foundation (Lily had a crush on Carter in school but had very few interactions with him, and even they were hot and cold). Carter didn’t seem to know what the hell he wanted. One minute he would act like he cared, the next he would be all aloof and broody. And then he blamed his feelings on Lily being an abductura, insinuating that he only felt that way about her because she was persuading him to. She was right, that is insulting. Plus, WHO THE HELL is going to be kissing a guy while their f*cking sister is missing? SERIOUSLY?! That part really irritated me. Maybe it’s just me, but making out seems a little unimportant compared to an abducted sister and, ya know, imminent death at the hands of freaky ape-like creatures.
And you know something? For this supposedly being a book about vampires, we only meet ONE actual vampire. Huh.
Will I continue with this series? I’m not really interested, so probably not.
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 2/5