Author: Kat Falls
Date of Publication: September 24, 2013
America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.
Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.
Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.
Wow. Just…wow. This book started out a bit slow (okay, maybe that’s being picky I was sucked in within 20 pages, but, um…it was a slow 20 pages maybe?), but once it picked up I just couldn’t put this book down!
First – the cover. Surprisingly, I have not a single argument with this cover. It suits the book perfectly and that is a great picture-perfect, um, picture of Lane, machete and all (okay, I don’t know if that’s an actual machete in her hand, but it looks macheteish to me). The yellow haze over everything gives the perfect dystopian feel to this book, which this book utterly deserves.
Lane and her friends are bored at a party and are curious to know what life looks like on the other side of the Titan Wall (a wall erected to split off and save what remained of true humanity after the infection swept across and took out a huge swath of the population). This quickly ends up with the hazmat people showing up, though it turns out that they didn’t come because of the hovercopter going over the wall, but rather because the director of the biohazard group has identified Lane as the daughter of what is known as a “fetch” (person who goes over (under) the wall to fetch things left behind when America fled west from the Ferae virus). The Director strikes a deal with Lane: get her father to fetch a picture of the Director’s daughter from Chicago and the Director will destroy all records indicating Lane’s father (Mack) is a fetch. Lane has no idea how she’ll find her father, and she’s terrified of getting infected herself, but of course she goes.
She picks up a couple of cohorts/potential love interests as she goes: line guard Everson (who has a pretty nifty secret he’s hiding) and Rafe, a boy who lives beyond the wall. Lane quickly discovers there’s more to the infected than she’d ever learned in her classrooms, including the three stages of the virus, only the final one of which is actual infectious to the normal population. Stage 2, where people are infected and have transformed to part human/part animal (manimal). There are heart-wrenching scenes with deaths you don’t see coming and a very vicious villain who winds his way through the book even before you realize just how deeply entrenched the villain is in the beyond-the-wall society Lane is moving in.
The book ends of course. This isn’t a romance, so don’t expect her to fall in love and live happily ever after. She’s 16 after all. She learns more about herself than she ever knew she would, she finds a way to effect the course of the virus (whether that’s good or bad, I’ll make you read the book to find out), and never once just gives up. She’s truly a heroine I can adore for a long time coming. Hopefully the next book comes out soon! Total 5-star rating from me!
This book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.