Author: A.G. Henley
Series: The Scourge #1
I havn't found a good new dystopian read in quite some time (I have a couple dystopian series I follow but no new "fresh" material). I hear people say over and over again how sick they are of the influx of dystopian novels on the market right now (thank you Hunger Games). But honestly, I'll read and enjoy dystopian novels until I die as long as the plot is well written and the characters are developed and charismatic. Because if the authors write it (and write it well), they (as in me) will come (and read/devour it). Now that I'm off my soap box, The Scourge is a self-published diamond in the rough. I believe this book deserves more accolade than it's getting. I truly enjoyed it.
Fenn has a gift, or so everyone tells her. Fenn is blind, referred to as the Sightless and because of this it is her responsibility to collect water for her people when the Scourge (deformed, flesh eating humans) come. That's reasonable right? Send the young, blind girl down to the water hole while fighting off the Scourge to collect water for the village? Well Fenn's people (the Groundlings) believe that because she is Sightless, this protects her from the Scourge. But Fenn is not alone when she fetches the water. Another group of people called the Lofties send a Keeper to watch over (and kill the Scourge if necessary) named Peree. Fenn must collect enough water for each of the 2 communities. When it becomes clear the Scourge will not leave after several days, the 2 communities become desperate, even violent against each other.
Eager to free her people from the Scourge, Fenn volunteers to search the vast cave system in search of a myth, the "hidden waters". This utopia is supposedly protected from the Scourge. As Fenn starts out on her journey, it becomes clear she is not searching alone. Her Keeper (the rather tall and courageous Peree) is joining her on her search. And her protection, rather than the hidden waters, is his number one priority. So will Fenn and Peree find the hidden waters, safe from the Scourge? What originally caused the Scourge so many years ago? Can Peree and Fenn's relationship last considering the unrest between their 2 communities?
What I LIKED about this book
I really enjoyed this one. It kept me turning the pages and reading when I really shouldn't have been reading. I've read the whole human-turned-zombie plot a couple of times but this story had a slightly different taste to it. Fenn was not helpless, even though she really could have been. She was courageous, strong and resourceful. It's so refreshing to read about a female protagonist with these qualities. Peree was also kind and strong. It would be hard to not like these characters and hence why I'm willing to read more about them (sequel please come soon).
What I DISLIKED about this book
There is a slight love triangle in this one. Tiny. At one point the two boys are practically proposing to Fenn at the same time, vowing their protection and love to her. At one point my Megamind crazed mind screamed "Boys, boys! You're both pretty!" I really thought the book didn't need the addition of the other insignificant boy (except I know there are others out there who really truly need love triangles).
I also thought the sickness behind the Scourge wasn't properly explained. **SPOILER** I realize the water has been poisoned all over but what originally caused someone to become a zombie? Other than being bitten by one?
And in other areas I felt it wasn't necessary for Fenn to find out who her mother is. Maybe this useless fact will not be so useless in the sequel. Okay, I'm done with the spoilers.
Overall I was very happy with The Scourge, awarding it 4.5 out of 5 stars. A few minor imperfections, but maybe I didn't catch the subtle explanation behind the zombies. This book has a lot of twists that I think many readers will enjoy, I know I certainly did. This book is for fans of dystopias, zombies, and romance. The sequel to The Scourge should be out soon. At least it better be...I'm a very impatient person!