Monday, July 4, 2011

The Eleventh Plague.

Title/Author: The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch.

Genre: Dystopian.

Publisher: Scholastic Press.

Source: BEA.

Favorite character: Stephen and Jenny.

Favorite quote:

Synopsis: The wars that followed The Collapse nearly destroyed civilization. Now, twenty years later, the world is faced with a choice—rebuild what was or make something new.

Stephen Quinn, a quiet and dutiful fifteen-year-old scavenger, travels Post-Collapse America with his Dad and stern ex-Marine Grandfather. They travel light. They keep to themselves. Nothing ever changes. But when his Grandfather passes suddenly and Stephen and his Dad decide to risk it all to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen's life is turned upside down. With his father terribly injured, Stephen is left alone to make his own choices for the first time.

Stephen’s choices lead him to Settler's Landing, a lost slice of the Pre-Collapse world where he encounters a seemingly benign world of barbecues, baseball games and days spent in a one-room schoolhouse. Distrustful of such tranquility, Stephen quickly falls in with Jenny Tan, the beautiful town outcast. As his relationship with Jenny grows it brings him into violent conflict with the leaders of Settler's Landing who are determined to remake the world they grew up in, no matter what the cost.

All in all: I liked this book a lot. Just when I thought it was getting predictable, the story took a sharp turn.

My Thoughts: Told from main character Stephen’s perspective, The 11th Plague is a story filled of hardship, distrust and death. It is also filled with love and hope.

It wasn’t a difficult read and the chapters flew by quickly. I would have liked a little more details on the setting. I realize that the author was probably just trying to use brush strokes and not get bogged down, but sometimes it was hard for me to visualize where things were in relation to other things. This wasn’t a major deterrent, but it did have me turning back pages to see where people were and what was going on.

There is a point in the book where I felt as if I had read/seen/heard this story before and it felt a bit predictable. But then the plot and most of all Stephen’s actions, took a turn and held my attention captive again.

I love Stephen’s character. He goes through a gamut of emotions, attitudes and outlooks. Most of his life he had been domineered by a strict and abusive grandfather who taught him how to survive. The book opens up with his grandfather’s death and the aftermath of how his life can now change, even in this harsh setting. It takes caring about someone else, Jenny, and her own family that really change him. Jenny is a great character also. She has a chip on her shoulder and is even more suspicious than Stephen. Like Stephen she also takes an inner journey in this story. In the end, Jenny and Stephen have to admit what they really want and take it.

There are some lessons displayed for readers to contemplate. It’s tough, trying to survive and yet trying to do what’s right at the same time. Doesn’t sound so much different than our world.


Jenny said...

Ooo yay dystopian! I love survival stories like this one and I haven't heard much about this book in particular so I'm really glad you posted your review:):) Despite it being a touch predictable, I'm still definitely adding it to the list!

Karen said...

Have this one sitting on the shelf but I didn't know much about it. It sounds pretty good. I'll have to move it up.

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

Okay, where have I been that I haven't heard of this book. I mean look at that cover. It is awesome.

Glad to know the book had a few surprises that thew you for a loop. And Stephen's emotional journey sounds really compelling.

Brilliant review, Pam. Thanks!

Midnyte Reader said...

@Jenny: I am totally into survival stories too and with dystopian you can do so much with it!
@Karen: I'd be interested to hear what you think about it.
@Missie: I looove the cover. It totally captures the feel of the story. Stephen is a good character.

Author Scott Nicholson said...

this sounds like a good story!


Savannah said...

Ohhh, this is a book I must read since I love dystopian theme! Thanks for the review!

Maria (Serpentine Library) said...

So glad to hear that you liked The Eleventh Plague. I keep eyeing my copy, but haven't picked it up yet. Looks like I'll have to move it up the TBR stack! said...
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