Monday, November 22, 2010

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.
As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent. 

Fortunately, they are now more than friends they're a pack. They are Virals.
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed Virals. I knew it would be a sort of light, action-packed read with a mostly predictable story line--I was right, but it was still engrossing. Even as I shook my head at the over-the-top genius of the four 'sci-philes' and the somewhat cheesy dialogue, it was captivating and had me staying up late to finish it. Now, don't go into this novel looking for deep, thought-provoking plots or heart-wrenching tragedies. The book was easy, fast-paced, and action-packed; basically, all the things I expected. It was a fast read, even though its a hefty 454 pages. Tory was easy to like, if not all that much relatable; Ben was my favorite character, even though we don't really find out much about him. Maybe I was the only one hoping for some kind of romance there, since Tory mentions in the first few pages that Ben might be flirting with her. Shelton was awesome and nerdy in all the right ways, while Hi was probably my second favorite character because of his weirdness. The characters were wacky and out-there, but I grew to like them a lot more by the end. I was definitely into the story, which, while a bit far-fetched, was good overall. I was a bit surprised by the very end's twist. The story line was predictable, until that final twist at least. My main problem was that the Virals faced no obstacles in their breaking & entering stunts. At least ten times, they caught tremendously easy breaks, even when it became ridiculous how obvious they were. A lot of luck must've been involved. Still, for the type of book it was, it was fitting and I found I didn't mind quite so much once the action got going. The characters were a bit stereotypical, especially the snobs at their school, but consistent. The other thing that bugged me was how some of the Virals spoke; one second they were talking like regular teens, the next they were talking like they were from another century. Other than that, this book was a roller coaster ride of action and mystery, perfect for teen readers looking for a light read. I'll definitely be reading the sequel (if there is one).
3 stars and a recommendation to fans of murder mysteries/action adventure.


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