Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The Way We Fall
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I mostly picked this book because it came from Hyperion, an imprint that usually steers me toward very enjoyable books (mostly contemporary with fantastical elements in my experience) so this one looked like a change.
I was excited once I opened this book and saw that it was told in letters from main character Kaelyn to her estranged best friend Leo; I've seen around the blogosphere that it is not always a popular format but I'm a complete sucker for books told in the epistolary way.
And this book differs from the current glut of apocalyptic and dystopia YA by starting at the beginning. At the start life on an island in Canada is not great for Kaelyn, of mixed race who has spent time off the island. Worse Kaelyn's best friend Leo is in New York City and they haven't spoken in years, her big regret.
But life continues on until slowly a mysterious illness strikes. Kaelyn first notices it in a friend's father and then in that friend. Soon the hospital is overflowing and death is everywhere. The island is cut off from the rest of Canada, with the military not allowing anyone to leave and with the internet connection down. Violent gangs fight over the remaining supplies and wantonly destroy property. People are frightened and confused, with no idea what will come next as they try to protect their loved ones from something they don't even understand.
The growing fear of the people was well conveyed and really got under my skin. Additionally I find epistolary novels highly addictive so I kept coming back for more. Even as I gasped at the depths people sunk to, I was consoled by the good that many aspired to do. However I didn't think much of the characters. None of the main ones were awful but none really stood out. I didn't feel like I got to know them and consequently am less interested in continuing to follow their adventures in what seems like a series.
Applause to Crewe for her different take on the genre (starting at the beginning adds some really dramatic tension) but I wish I had felt more for the characters.