Thursday, 24 September 2015

Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

Title: Viral Nation
Series: Viral Nation (#1)
Author: Shaunta Grimes
From: Netgalley
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-fi, Young Adult
Release Date: 2nd July 2013
Challenges: 2015 Reading Assignment Challenge, 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

When the world is ravished by 'the virus', a time portal is found and a cure brought back from two years in the future. Administered to everyone each day, order and civilisation are restored and life goes on, with everyone working and living off the bare minimum. When autistic Clover goes for her interview to study at the Academy, she is instead drafted into working as a Messenger for the Company, going forwards into the future to retrieve information.

I'd like to start by saying that I read an ARC of Viral Nation, and as such the formatting was quite frustrating at times (there were numbers everywhere), however as soon as I was into the book (which didn't take long at all), I barely noticed them and basically devoured the book. I wanted to point this out, even though I normally wouldn't bother, because I think it shows the strength of the story and the characters.

The main character, Clover, was definitely different to other YA female characters, potentially because of her autism and potentially simply because of Grimes' writing style. Whatever the reason I really enjoyed her as a character. Another aspect of her character was her service dog, Mango, who was partly an extension of Clover and partly his own character, and I loved having an animal in such a prominent position.

The time travel element of the book was fascinating. At first I wasn't sure if it was going to work, but actually I really thought that it did. I liked how the characters were aware that they could (and in some cases were) caught in time loops. I also liked that they were aware of how the paradoxes were affecting them. It made the whole thing much more believable (well as believable as time travel is anyway).

The dystopia was well formed, with the act of controlling the population being the most prevalent part of it. Interestingly there were still some mysteries left regarding exactly what was going on, particularly in the Company. From what could be gathered, the dystopia spanned more than just the one city, but I am interested to see how this could progress.

Viral Nation was interesting and different, I would definitely suggest it to YA dystopia fans.