Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Review: Stung by Bethany Wiggins


Author: Bethany Wiggins
Series: Stung
Pages: 294
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Australian release date: 4th July 2013

Synopsis (Goodreads)

In a world in crisis, children are the future. Part of the cure. Not now. Children are deadly. Marked one to ten. Fiona is a TEN. She just doesn't know it yet . . . She doesn't know her true strength. 

Fiona doesn't remember going to sleep. But she has woken to find her entire world has changed - her house is abandoned and broken, and her neighbourhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right wrist that she doesn't remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. And she's right. When the honeybee population collapsed, a worldwide pandemic occurred and the government tried to bio-engineer a cure. But instead the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts. They have been branded as a warning to unvaccinated survivors. Key people needed to rebuild society are protected inside a fortress-like wall. Fiona has awakened branded, alone and on the wrong side of the wall .

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

Thank-you kindly to Bloomsbury Publishing Australia for providing me with a copy of Stung.

I absolutely love the premise of Stung, a post-apocalyptic world where bees are now extinct and scientists have tried to genetically modify this species but completely failed and instead spread a deadly flu like virus infecting humans. After trying to bio-engineer a cure, things became worse and turned the population into zombie-like creatures who kill without thought and now need to be separated by a wall.

Our main heroine Fiona Tarsis doesn’t remember anything from the age of thirteen since waking from a coma a lot older marked with a hand tattoo signifying she is an infected beast. The world as she once knew it is in complete disarray and everyone she once loved has gone or is changed.

Fiona at the beginning of the book reacted in a way which was believable for someone in her predicament, confused and weak but as the book progressed she grew as a character and in strength but her actions at times were immature and tiresome.

Dreyden Bowen is a member of the militia and Fiona’s old next door neighbour and has been ordered to protect her until she can be handed to the laboratory; he is wary of her in the beginning because she is marked as the highest level of threat and doesn’t recognise who she is as she is disguised as a boy. His open hostility towards her initially was understandable, he was fearful of what she was but I came to quite like him as a character as he offers her kindness and his care.

The progression of the romance between Fiona and Bowen developed at a rapid pace and the cheesiness of their interactions at times had me rolling my eyes, cringing. I wasn’t invested in this relationship and didn’t fully connect with it as much as I would have liked but the romance wasn’t at the forefront of the story.

From the onset on the book I had no clear idea in which direction it would go, I found it confusing at times but as it progressed so too did my expectations and I found myself immersed in the interesting plot, revelations and outcome as Fiona runs from a militant society she no longer recognises or understands.

Stung is unique and creative amongst other YA dystopian novels, the post-apocalyptic world Ms. Wiggins has written is believable but I would have loved more world-building to fully appreciate it; for me with dystopian books I need more information about how everything came to be to fully grasp the world they are now living in and unfortunately I found this aspect lacking so I am hoping we are given more details in the sequel, Cured.

Overall, Stung wasn't without its faults but I did enjoy it none the less. Bethany Wiggin’s writing was entertaining and the creative story she has weaved certainly an action-packed, intriguing thrill-ride.

Australian VS US covers

Stung Stung

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